Russell Scientific Instruments Limited
Rash's Green Industrial Estate, Dereham
Norfolk NR19 1JG
Tel: 01362 693481 Fax: 01362 698548
Further to my last letter in October 2006, I feel I need to update you on the situation regarding mercury barometers. As you may recall I was one of the prime movers in trying to win a reprieve against the proposed banning of the use of mercury in barometers. We won a reprieve on the ownership of mercury barometers but whilst we won two rounds of votes in the European Commission allowing us to manufacture mercury stick barometers the Environmental Committee (mainly from the UK, in particular one Ms McCavan MEP from Rotherham) recommended to the European Parliament that this victory should be overturned and unfortunately it was. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot, I thought we were trying to preserve jobs. Then to add insult to injury they now want us to use low energy light bulbs which would you believe contain mercury!! Double standards if ever I've heard!
I have subsequently had a meeting at the House of Lords with the Minister of State, Lord Rooker from DEFRA. Whilst he listened, he had to point out that we (the UK) are one country out of 27 and that's the value of our vote. Of the other 27 countries only about 6 are affected and most of the rest do not have a barometer industry and hardly know what we are talking about. As it stands we are allowed to manufacture and market reproduction mercury stick barometers until October 2009. The better news is we are still allowed to repair all types of mercury barometers and thermometers, for the moment.
My staff are so incensed that the "law makers" of Europe have banned (without proper consultation) manufacture of new mercury barometers that they have started a petition to the Prime Minister and if you feel strongly, as we do, and have the time I would ask you to add the voices that should be heard http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Save-our-jobs/ You will receive an email which you must respond to as this activates your vote.
We have struggled to maintain our 2006 prices but as you are all probably aware there has been a rapid escalation of the costs of raw materials, glass, wood and brass and for this reason we have increased our prices and these will take immediate effect. We enclose our 2008 price list but we are still working with the same brochure and will supply on request. We have introduced cherry wood into certain models to reflect the changes in taste and choice.
Thank you for your support in the past and long may it continue in this ever-changing economy we try to make a living in and help us to preserve our 350 year old skills.
for Russell Scientific Instruments Limited
E N S Allen