Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Annex A

  Case 1  Involved a delivery of unbranded, diesel fuel from a road tanker in Ballynahinch. Tests indicated contamination with 28 second heating oil (kerosene). The degree of contamination was not quantified in the test report. The cause of the contamination was found to have been leakage between the adjoining compartments on a road tanker.

  In view of the fact that the materiality of the contamination could not be established and that the matter had been resolved between the parties concerned, no enforcement action was taken by the Trading Standards Service (TSS).

  Case 2  Involved an unbranded, temporary retail site near Crumlin, dispensing diesel fuel. Tests indicated contamination with kerosene. The degree of contamination was not quantified in the test report and materiality could not therefore be established in relation to the falsity of the description, "diesel". The test results were passed to HM Customs and Excise (HM C&E) who seized fuel from the site two days later.

  Case 3  Involved an unbranded, temporary retail site in Lisburn, dispensing diesel fuel. Tests indicated that the fuel was "laundered" red (agricultural) diesel. Again, the degree of contamination was unquantified in the test report. The description applied to the fuel (diesel) could not therefore be established as materially false. These test results were passed to HM C&E who made a seizure of fuel from the site that day.

  Case 4  Involved an unbranded, retail site in Coleraine, dispensing diesel fuel. Tests indicated the presence of Kerosene and "green" (smuggled agricultural) diesel, but again the degree of contamination was not reported, preventing the establishment of a materially false description. The test results were reported to HM C&E for further action.

  Case 5  Involved an unbranded, retail site near Randalstown, dispensing diesel fuel. Tests indicated that the fuel was "laundered" red (agricultural) diesel. Again, the degree of contamination was not reported and therefore the falsity of the description, "diesel" could not be established as material. The test results were reported to HM C&E who requested that the TSS take no further action as they (HM C&E) planned an imminent seizure.

  Case 6  Involved an unbranded, retail site near Portglenone, again dispensing diesel fuel. Tests indicated that the fuel was "laundered" red (agricultural) diesel. The report, as before, did not quantify the degree of contamination, thus precluding action under the Trade Descriptions Act. The test results were reported to HM C&E who again asked that the TSS do nothing further as they (HM C and E) planned to take immediate action.

    (i)  Throughout the TSS investigations, the officers concerned liaised regularly with the Intelligence Unit of HM C&E, the joint objective being that the most effective response be provided in each case.

    (ii)  The TSS testing was undertaken by the Department of Economic Development's Industrial Research and Technology Unit in Lisburn (IRTU). At a meeting between TSS officers and representatives of the IRTU Chemical Analytical Department, the TSS concern about the absence of quantitative analysis in the test reports was raised. As a result of that meeting, IRTU agreed to develop a test capable of quantifying the contaminants in samples of fuel oils. It is understood that this test procedure is now in place.

15 February 1999


 
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