Church organs free to pipe their tune

24 May 2006
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today hailed the decision by the European Commission to exclude Church organs from directives banning the use of lead in electrical equipment.

Mr Smith contacted the Commission after the issue was brought to his attention by constituents concerned about the future of their church organs. Today the European Commission, in an answer to a Parliamentary Question, has stated that

"the Commission can confirm that the RoHS Directive does not apply to any existing organs (i.e. put on the market before July 2006), nor to the use of lead for the future repair of their pipes."

Responding to the Commission statement Mr Smith said

"This is fantastic news for all those churches, organ groups and concert halls worried about repairing their organ pipes, or installing new organs.

"The problem was that the UK government did not consider organ pipes when they implemented the directive, now that has been re-dressed.

"The people that contacted me where very concerned about not only musical traditions but the architecture of some churches and concert halls built around huge pipe organs. I was even sent a piece of organ pipe as part of this campaign.

"The decision still has to be taken by all Member States but I can now see absolutely no reason why lead organ pipes should be affected by European directives on either hazardous substances or electrical waste.

"I am pleased the Commission and member states are seeing sense on this. Hopefully next time the UK government will take more care over implementing directives and we won't need to have campaigns like this one."

The issue of lead in church organ pipes and the danger that church organs could be banned was the subject of media attention and a public campaign in March this year.