Traditional Industry Must Not Be Damaged

13 November 2006
The traditional industry of barometer making is seeking a lifeline from the European Parliament this week and has won the support of Scottish MEP Alyn Smith.


Mr Smith, the SNP's spokesman on Europe, has offered his backing to a move that would exclude all traditional barometers from new restrictions on the sale and marketing of instruments containing mercury.

Speaking on his way to Strasbourg for the crucial vote Mr Smith said

"Scotland has a history of traditional barometer making, I would hate to see it disappear through this legislation.

"I sincerely hope we will be able to help this industry. Traditional mercury barometers are still sold on the antiques market, a few are still made and there is a great deal of scientific interest in old barometers.

"No one intended to ban traditional measuring instruments, many of which are historical items. The restrictions are intended to prevent pollution from new technologies using mercury.

"There are many alternatives to mercury instruments nowadays but historical value and traditional skills must not be lost.

"Of the 3600 tons of mercury used around the world only 560 kilos is used in new barometers in Europe. It is mercury use on an industrial scale we need to control not small scale sales of historic objects."

"Overall I support the legislation, but I hope we can be successful in ensuring that these historical objects and traditional skills do not suffer needlessly."


Note to Editors

The Parliament will vote on Tuesday 14th on regulations concerning the marketing of certain measuring devices containing mercury.