Fridges, washing machines and TVs will be guaranteed to last longer

Fridges, washing machines and TVs will be guaranteed to last longer in war on ‘planned obsolescence’ – with plans for labels showing expected lifespan for new products

  • Proposals are designed to tackle ‘planned obsolescence’ for electrical products
  • Ministers plan laws requiring spare parts to be available for at least seven years 
  • There are concerns over the environmental damage caused by replacing goods

Fridges, washing machines and televisions will be guaranteed to last longer for British consumers under Government plans, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The proposals are designed to tackle ‘planned obsolescence’ for products, which means they have a shorter lifespan and have to be replaced more regularly.

Ministers plan to bring in laws requiring spare parts to be available for a minimum of seven years, to let white goods and electrical products last longer.

Labels could also be required on new machines that spell out their expected lifespan.

Electrical goods around the home can be expected to live longer under the proposals

In the spring, the Government will launch a policy framework for energy products, expected to go further than current EU rules.

A source said: ‘We will push for products to use less energy, resources, and materials, saving carbon and helping households and businesses to reduce their energy bills with minimum effort.’

It comes amid concern over the environmental damage being caused by goods that need replacing sooner. 

Here’s one that worked perfectly well for 56 years 

A Buckinghamshire man has been crowned the owner of Britain’s oldest fridge.

Edmund Garrod, from High Wycombe, has owned the 1954 General Electric Company DE30 model for 56 years.

Apart from needing a new thermostat a few weeks after his parents bought it, the fridge has worked perfectly.

‘I suppose things were built better then,’ said Mr Garrod, left, who won a competition run by AMDEA, the UK trade association for appliance manufacturers.

Typical washing machines last about eight years before breaking, and manufacturers do not keep the relevant parts for long – which means they then cannot repair them. 

By contrast, some fridges installed in the 1950s still work more than 50 years later.

Under the plans, being drawn up by the Department for Business and Energy, new models will also have to be built with parts that ‘can be replaced with the use of commonly available tools, tackling premature obsolescence’.

Business Minister Paul Scully said he plans to bring in the measures after publishing the results of two public consultations later this year. He said the measures ‘aim to improve the resource efficiency of energy related products’.

He was responding to a ministerial question by SNP MP Angela Crawley, who asked what the Government was doing to counter the practice of ‘intentionally shortening the lifespan of consumer products through planned obsolescence’. 

Ms Crawley told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Planned obsolescence is a cynical marketing strategy and has a damaging impact on the environment as well as consumers.’

James Daley, managing director of consumer group Fairer Finance, said the plans were sensible, adding: ‘It’s good that the onus is on companies to produce goods that are better quality and can be easily fixed.’

He said that even if the move drives up the price of household goods, they will last longer, so it should save people money over the long run.

Mr Daley called on the Government to also tackle safety standards of consumer goods being sold online. 

He said: ‘You might order something and it comes from China – they are not going through the same safety checks.’

Paul Hide, chief executive of AMDEA, the trade association for appliance manufacturers, said: ‘It would be unfair to households on a budget to only place on to the market appliances of the most premium-build durability.’

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it is considering the responses to two consultations and will publish the results ‘in due course’.

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