freckletonThe Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) has launched a formal consultation on proposals to amend the testing regime within the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations (FFRs).

The FFRs 1998 set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. This consultation sets out the government’s intention to change the specification for the match test and the requirements for the cigarette test (both for covering fabrics) in the regulations.

Concerns raised over a rise in the number of UK retailers selling products highlighted by an investigation on the BBC’s Fake Britain programme, led FIRE to launch a 'name & shame' campaign supported by CFOA President Paul Fuller.

Further reading: Foam filled fakes

Now BIS will seek to find ways to counteract the rise in people breaking the existing regulations by hosting a consultation on enhancing the legislation which will run until 7 October 2014.

Current proposals include:
- Changes to the foam used as a filling in the match test. Future tests would be carried out using combustion-modified foam, rather than the non-fire retardant polyurethane foam used at present
- Plans to exclude certain fabrics from the cigarette test, including those which have already passed the match test
- A new testing requirement for currently unregulated materials found in furniture that can be highly flammable, such as webbing and card

Protection to consumers
Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson, who launched the consultation, said: "Fire safety testing in the UK offers the highest possible level of protection to consumers and I am determined to maintain these standards.

"However, by using fewer hazardous chemicals and removing some of the duplication in the testing process, we can better protect human health and the environment while reducing bureaucracy at the same time."

There is also an invitation to attend an Open Day on 19th August. The main intention of this event is to help provide further information needed to respond to the consultation.

The changes will continue to provide the same level of protection to consumers while cutting regulatory burdens, and are expected to lead to significant reductions in the use of fire retardant chemicals which can be damaging for both human health and the environment.

For more information and to get involved in the consultation visit: 

Further details will be unveiled in the September edition of FIRE Magazine - to subscribe visit