Hampshire Trading Standards

Legislation enforced by Trading Standards

Agriculture/Animal Health

Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Acts 1928 and 1931

This legislation controls the use of grade designation marks for agricultural produce, which as well as crops and eggs, also includes fish. At the moment, there are no prescribed marks in use on agricultural produce, so there is no enforcement role under this legislation. The Act is kept on the statute book for use in an emergency, when regulations might be issued to control the quality of agricultural produce. Fresh horticultural produce is not covered by this Act.

Agriculture Act 1970

Agriculture in Hampshire is an important aspect of its economy. Farmers spend a large portion of their capital on feeding stuffs for their animals and fertilisers for their crops. Any deficiencies of vital ingredients or additions of deleterious ingredients, can have disastrous effects on animals and crops. At best, development is retarded, at worst, animals and crops are lost.

The Agriculture Act and the Regulations made under it, give this Service powers to sample from feed mills, farms and retailers. The legislation lays down strict controls on composition and labelling of fertilisers and feeding stuffs. Most of the sampling is carried out at the mills by Trading Standards Officers. Any samples that are found to be outside the limits of variance and to the prejudice of the purchaser, may result in the producer being prosecuted.

In recent years, pet food has been brought under the control of the Act and again, this is monitored by sampling.

Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968

This Act is sometimes used by this Service in welfare cases, instead of the Protection of Animals Act 1911. On occasions, it is used to support cases brought under the 1911 Act. It is particularly useful where large numbers of animals are involved, as the offences are worded to cover more than one animal. It can only be used where the offence occurred on agricultural land.

The offences provide for two levels of suffering, the more serious offence being "causing unnecessary pain" and the less serious, "causing unnecessary distress". In cases of neglect, the offence of "causing unnecessary distress" is usually used, leaving the offence of "causing unnecessary pain" for cases of wanton cruelty.

It is much easier to prove distress than it is to prove pain.

Animal Health Act 1981

Farming is of vital importance to this country and to Hampshire. Any outbreak of a contagious disease amongst farm animals is a serious blow to the farming community. One disease which is dreaded by all the community, not just farmers, is rabies. With our long coastline, numerous creeks, harbours and marinas, Hampshire is in the front line in the fight to keep rabies out of Britain.

The Animal Health Act, the Orders made under it and other Disease control Regulations, aim to control the spread of diseases and to eventually eradicate them. This is done by controlling the identification and movements of animals and isolating areas where disease is confirmed. The Act has strict controls on the import of animals, which include import licences and strict quarantine controls.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

The welfare of animals is a matter of wide public concern. Animals kept for production or as pets or companion animals are entitled to be treated in a manner in keeping with the health, welfare and needs.

The Animal Welfare Act and the Codes of Practice made under it provide control on the levels of welfare and farming practice. Animal Health and Welfare Inspectors work in conjunction with DEFRA Animal Health to ensure that livestock are properly cared for in accordance with the legal requirements.

Dogs Act 1906

This Act, amongst other things, creates an offence for leaving the carcase of cattle on agricultural land where dogs can gain access. The defendant has to have knowledge of the carcase, so if an animal dies without the farmer being aware, he does not commit an offence.

Leaving carcases in fields creates a real risk of spreading disease; foxes and dogs can disperse bits of the carcase over a wide area. If the animal were infected with a notifiable disease, this could be spread to neighbouring farms.

Feed Hygiene and Enforcement (England) Regulations

Safe feed is the cornerstone for a safe food chain both within Hampshire and throughout the United Kingdom. Historically a number of food scares, such as BSE or Mad Cow disease, have been traced to animal feed production.

The feed hygiene and enforcement regulations provide additional controls on the animal feed industry from the feed mill to the farm feeding animals in order to minimise the chances of similar issues occurring again and to provide powers for dealing with any that may arise. Feed Businesses are required to be approved or registered with the Local Authority and to comply with appropriate levels of hygiene controls depending on the nature of the business and the feed produced.

The regulations also control unsafe and misleading marketing of feed for farmed animals.

Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

Requires that anyone who keeps or trains animals for public performance (ie. circus or films) needs to be licensed by Regulatory Services.

Protection of Animals Act 1911

There is a growing awareness of animal welfare, not only in Britain, but in the EEC as a whole. Practices which have been acceptable in the past are now being questioned and shown to be unacceptable for the welfare of animals.

Although there are cases of deliberate cruelty to animals, most cases are caused by neglect and most neglect by farmers trying to save money. Probably most cases of cruelty are committed by owners of pet animals, but this Service leaves these cases to the RSPCA, who are best suited to dealing with these.

The Protection of Animals Act 1911 provides offences for cases where animals are caused unnecessary suffering. Despite the Act applying to all animals, this Department only uses it in relation to domestic farm animals.

The Act is a common informer's act and the RSPCA and MAFF can, and do, use it for prosecutions. Where possible, MAFF prefer this Service to take proceedings and will provide expert witnesses when necessary. The offences under the Act are for individual animals, so where a whole herd is caused unnecessary suffering, offences have to be worded for each animal. It is useful in these cases to be able to identify each animal by tagging, or physical description.

If an owner of an animal is found guilty of an offence under this Act, the Court may, by using its powers under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954, disqualify him/her from having custody of the animals.

 

Fair Trading

Administration of Justice Act 1985

The preparation of conveyancing documents (the paperwork involved in buying or selling a house) was restricted by law until recently, to solicitors and other members of the legal profession.

The Administration of Justice Act 1985 relaxed this rule to allow "licensed conveyancers" to carry out the preparation of such documents.

The Act creates offences to prevent anyone describing himself as a licensed conveyancer, unless he holds a licence issued by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers, and to prevent companies purporting to be a "recognised body" from offering conveyancing services, when not recognised under the Act.

Consumer Protection Act 1987

In the safety field, this Act establishes a civil law right of redress for death, or injury, caused by using defective consumer goods (the so-called 'product liability' provisions). This right now lies against any supplier (including the manufacturer, or importer), rather than simply the person from whom the goods were purchased, as was formerly the case.

The Act goes on to establish a 'general safety requirement' namely, that all goods for domestic use must be reasonably safe, bearing in mind all the circumstances. This requirement has extended even further the Service's involvement with the safety of goods. Formerly, this was limited to those areas for which regulations had been made, of which there were many, such as toys, pushchairs, nightwear, bicycles, cosmetics, tyres, furniture, gas cookers etc. The Service now works closely with inspectors from HM Customs in checking goods at point of importation (particularly Southampton and Portsmouth docks). Powers under the Act allow suspect goods to be 'suspended' from sale for up to six months, while checks on safety are conducted. If faulty, the goods may be destroyed.

These safety provisions have been extended by the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 which applies the requirement to be safe to all domestic consumer goods.

Trade Descriptions Act 1968

The majority of this act has been replaced and repealed by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

These Regulations bring in a general duty not to trade unfairly, prohibit misleading actions and omissions and unfair trading practices and outlaw 31 prohibited specific practices. Areas covered include false descriptions and membership claims, misleading information about prices, scams including prize draws and bait advertising.

An offence occurs where the practice contravenes the requirements of professional diligence and affects the economic behaviour in a decision made by a consumer. Many laws were wholly or partly repealed by these regulations including the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, Mock Auctions Act 1961, Part III of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988.

Development of Tourism Act 1969

An Order made under this Act requires hotels to display in their reception areas a notice giving their accommodation charges.

Education Reform Act 1990

The Trading Standards Service enforces the sections of the Act which regulate 'bogus degrees'. It is an offence to grant, offer to grant, or to issue any invitation relating to any award which is either described as a degree, or purports to confer on its holder the right to the title of bachelor, master or doctor and which may reasonably be thought to be a "recognized award". Recognized awards are those conferred by universities and colleges authorised by Royal Charter, or Act of Parliament, or other awards recognized by the Secretary of State for Education.

Enterprise Act 2002

Estate Agents Act 1979

The Act provides that deposits given to estate agents are held on trust by the agent (so that they are not available to other creditors, if the agent goes bankrupt), and should be held in a separate client account. There are also provisions relating to the details which an agent should give about his charges, and to the disclosure by an estate agent of any personal interest he has in property he is dealing with. Bankrupts are not permitted to engage in estate agency work, except as an employee of another agent. The power also exists to ban unfit persons from doing estate agency work. Grounds for banning are the commission of offences involving fraud, dishonesty, or violence, commission of offences under the Act, failing to comply with certain obligations under the Act, or discriminating in the course of estate agency work.

Hallmarking Act 1973

This legislation controls the sale of gold, silver and platinum items. The Act lays down definitions of the terms 'sterling' or 'Britannia' for silver, and of 9, 18, 22 (etc.) carat for gold. Any new item of silver weighing 7.78 grams or more, or of gold weighing one gram or more, or of platinum weighing 0.5 gram or more, must be hallmarked before sale, unless it is so small, or thin, that it cannot be hallmarked. It is an offence to describe an unhallmarked item as being wholly, or partly, made of gold, silver, or platinum, subject to exceptions for the use of 'rolled gold' and 'gold/silver/platinum plated'. Dealers in precious metal must display a sign illustrating the approved hallmarks.

Prices Act 1974 and 1975

Orders made under the Act require the display of the selling price of most goods. The Orders also lay down requirements for display of unit-prices for many food-stuffs, and petrol and diesel fuel. Other Orders regulate the display of:

  • exchange-rates in bureaux de change, banks, etc.
  • surcharges for different methods of payment (e.g. credit cards)
  • price and other information on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events.

Property Misdescriptions Act 1991

This Act seeks to control the accuracy of statements made when developers and estate agents advertise property. Most types of factual statement are covered. Traders can escape conviction if they prove that they took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence.

Solicitors Act 1974

The Act prevents persons not qualified as solicitors from preparing documents ("instruments of transfer or charge") relating to real property (i.e. land, buildings etc.), or other documents relating to real or personal estate, and legal proceedings. Any unqualified person who so acts is guilty of an offence.There is a limited exemption for "licensed conveyancers" - see notes on the Administration of Justice Act 1985.

Telecommunications Act 1984

The Trading Standards Service enforces the Act's provisions on the labelling and advertising of telecommunications apparatus. An intending purchaser should know whether apparatus is approved for connection, or prohibited from connection, to the public telecommunications systems. All equipment has to bear appropriate labels.

Theft Act 1968

Where the Trading Standards Service investigates an offence under legislation such as the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, it may conclude that no successful prosecution can be mounted: for example, where there is insufficient evidence that the sale was made "in the course of a trade or business". Where there is evidence of deliberate fraud in the transaction, the Service may instead institute proceedings under the Theft Act 1968, for obtaining property (i.e. the price of the goods) by deception.

Timeshare Act 1992

Provides rights to cancel certain timeshare agreements. For most timeshare contracts subject to UK law, the trader must give consumers notice that they have a right cancel the agreement within fourteen days of signing.

Trade Descriptions Act 1968

The majority of this act has been replaced and repealed by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

These Regulations bring in a general duty not to trade unfairly, prohibit misleading actions and omissions and unfair trading practices and outlaw 31 prohibited specific practices. Areas covered include false descriptions and membership claims, misleading information about prices, scams including prize draws and bait advertising.

An offence occurs where the practice contravenes the requirements of professional diligence and affects the economic behaviour in a decision made by a consumer. Many laws were wholly or partly repealed by these regulations including the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, Mock Auctions Act 1961, Part III of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988.

Trade Marks Act 1994

It is an offence to make, sell or possess with the intention of selling, goods which bear copies of registered trade marks, if the promoter of the trade mark has not authorised this use on those goods.The offence combats the trade in counterfeit goods, but also extends to use of reputable trademarks (or marks that may be mistaken for them) on inappropriate goods. So even joke imitations of trademarks can be an offence.

Trading Stamps Act 1964

Regulates the issue and advertising of trading stamps. Stamps must show their cash value and the name of the issuing company, and must be redeemable for cash. Stamp-books and catalogues for goods which can be obtained in exchange for stamps, must give the name and address of the issuing company. Advertisements concerning the value of stamps must not mislead, or deceive. Shops operating a trading stamps scheme must display a notice, giving the cash value of the stamps, and particulars, enabling customers to calculate how many stamps they will receive on any purchase. If the stamp company issues a catalogue for goods, a copy must be kept at each shop, for consultation by customers.

Video Recordings Act 1984

The Act controls almost all supplies of video works. Subject to various exemptions and defences, it is an offence

  • to supply an uncertificated video, or to possess an uncertificated video for the purpose of supply
  • to supply or offer to supply a video to a person below the age specified in the certificate
  • to supply or offer to supply a 'Restricted 18' video on premises other than a licensed sex-shop
  • to supply or offer to supply a video which is falsely labelled as to its classification

The Act covers not only conventional video cassettes, but also any electronic means of storing moving images - in particular some CD ROMS and computer floppy disks.

 

Food

Food and Environmental Protection Act 1985

An Act to authorise the making in an emergency of orders specifying activities which are to be prohibited as a precaution against the consumption of food rendered unsuitable for human consumption in consequence of an escape of substances and to regulate pesticides and substances, preparations and organisms prepared or used for the control of pests or for protection against pests; and for connected purposes.

Food Safety Act 1990

The Food Safety Act 1990 replaces the Food Act 1984 and sets the criteria that food should not be injurious to health. It also ensures that food should be of the nature, substance, or quality demanded by the purchaser. The Act provides for the control of food composition and labelling by Regulation.

This Service controls the quality of food by the use of co-ordinated sampling from trade premises and the comprehensive advice service to local packers and producers. Samples are analysed for the Department by the County Scientific Service. The effect of enforcing the Act over the years, has been a gradual improvement in the quality of the composition and labelling of food.

Membership of the EEC means that Regulations now have to take into account the requirements of EEC Regulations and Directives. The aim of these is to harmonise the legislation in member countries to reduce trade barriers. As a result of new EEC legislation and as a response to the challenge of new food technology, a new Food Act is expected to be in force in the early 1990's.

Membership of the EC means that UK Legislation is harmonised to implement EC Directives and to provide for the enforcement of EC Regulations.

 

Safety

Celluloid and Cinematograph Act 1922

This Act is enforced jointly by the Trading Standards Service and the Fire Brigade (as decided by the Public Protection Committee on 28 November, 1973).

The Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act requires registration with the Local Authority of all premises where celluloid film is kept. As very little film is made of celluloid nowadays, cinemas are rarely subject to these controls.

In relation to this Act, the licensing function is undertaken by the Fire Brigade, while the Trading Standards Service, as part of its comprehensive enforcement role, carries out inspections to ensure that all matters of safety continue to be complied with.

Children and Young Persons Act 1933

This Act together with the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991 prohibit the sale of tobacco products to children under 16. Notices warning that sale of tobacco to under-age persons is illegal must be displayed in all premises where tobacco is sold.

Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991

See Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

Clean Air Act 1993

The work of the Trading Standards Service under this Act involves the regular sampling of fuels to ensure that the maximum permitted levels of certain harmful pollutants, such as sulphur and lead, are not exceeded.

Consumer Protection Act 1987

In the safety field, this Act establishes a civil law right of redress for death, or injury, caused by using defective consumer goods (the so-called 'product liability' provisions). This right now lies against any supplier (including the manufacturer, or importer), rather than simply the person from whom the goods were purchased, as was formerly the case.

The Act goes on to establish a 'general safety requirement' namely, that all goods for domestic use must be reasonably safe, bearing in mind all the circumstances. This requirement has extended even further the Service's involvement with the safety of goods. Formerly, this was limited to those areas for which regulations had been made, of which there were many, such as toys, pushchairs, nightwear, bicycles, cosmetics, tyres, furniture, gas cookers etc. The Service now works closely with inspectors from HM Customs in checking goods at point of importation (particularly Southampton and Portsmouth docks). Powers under the Act allow suspect goods to be 'suspended' from sale for up to six months, while checks on safety are conducted. If faulty, the goods may be destroyed.

These safety provisions have been extended by the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 which applies the requirement to be safe to all domestic consumer goods.

Energy Conservation Act 1981

This Act gives the Secretary of State powers to make Orders requiring certain energy-consuming appliances, such as heaters, cookers and refrigerators, to carry type approval markings, indicating that the appliance meets certain approved standards and showing such details as the rate at which it consumes energy.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

Regulations made under this Act control the harmful effects on the environment of such substances as refrigerants. The Service is particularly involved in controlling the level of heavy metals in paints.

The work of the Trading Standards Service under this Act involves regular checks are being under the Anti-fouling Paint Regulations, to ensure that anti-fouling paint does not contain more than the permitted level of tri-butyl tin, a substance which has been found to harm freshwater and marine animals and plants.

Explosives Act 1875 and 1923

The Explosives Act is the oldest legislation enforced by the Trading Standards Service. Supplemented by various Orders in Council, the Act controls the storage and supply of various categories of explosive substances to ensure public safety and security. The Department's involvement stretches from the sale of fireworks to persons under age on the one hand, to ensuring safe storage of up to 2000kgs of explosives in a magazine on the other. The Service is responsible for registering all premises where explosives are stored. By far the largest proportion of these are used for the storage of fireworks, which produces a seasonally high workload around Guy Fawkes night.Many of the provisions of the Explosives Act have been replaced by the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005.

The Fireworks Act gives the Service powers to deal with any fireworks found to be dangerous.

Fireworks Act 1951

The Explosives Act is the oldest legislation enforced by the Trading Standards Service. Supplemented by various Orders in Council, the Act controls the storage and supply of various categories of explosive substances to ensure public safety and security. The Service's involvement stretches from the sale of fireworks to persons under age on the one hand, to ensuring safe storage of up to a 1/4 tonne of explosives in a Mode A magazine, on the other. The Service is responsible for registering all premises where explosives are stored. By far the largest proportion of these are used for the storage of fireworks, which produces a seasonally high workload around Guy Fawkes night.

The Fireworks Act gives the Department powers to deal with any fireworks found to be dangerous.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This Act essentially gives the Trading Standards Service wider powers of enforcement under a number of existing enactments known in the Act as "Relevant Statutory Provisions". These include the Explosives Act 1875, the Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922 and the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928.

The Service is also involved at retail level in ensuring that dangerous substances are correctly packaged and labelled with the appropriate warnings and safety information

Motorcycle Noise Act 1987

This Act gives Regulation-making powers to the Secretary of State to limit the sale of exhaust systems and silencers for motorcycles to those which will not result in the emission of excessive noise. Controlling Mototcycle Noise

Poisons Act 1972

This Act requires the Trading Standards Service to register all persons who wish to sell poisons listed in Part II of the Poisons List Order. These products include certain kettle de-scalers and drain cleaners containing ammonia, and weed killers, such as paraquat.

Additionally, the Service is involved in ensuring that these, and other dangerous substances, are properly labelled with warnings and safety information, as required by The Classification, Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Substances Regulations.

 

Weights and Measures

Weights and Measures Act 1985

This Act and its predecessors, have formed the backbone of the work of the Service in ensuring fair trade in the market place.

The Act establishes a hierarchy of standards of weight, length, area, volume and capacity. The Service is responsible for maintaining local and working standards and for ensuring that all weighing and measuring equipment in use for trade is accurate. A very wide range of equipment is involved, from the barrow boy's vegetable scale, to sophisticated bulk fuel metering systems and computerised packing equipment in factories.

The weight and correct labelling of all goods sold by quantity, is also controlled and the Service is involved in ensuring that consumers do not receive short weight, or measure and, in respect of pre-packed goods, that the EEC Average Quantity System is rigorously observed.

This involves covert 'test purchases' in the former case, and the use of sophisticated statistical techniques and electronic weighing equipment with computers, in the latter.

The Service also conducts examinations of all persons carrying out weighing on public weighing equipment and issues certificates of competence where appropriate.