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July 06, 2016, 12:47 PM

Brexit blues for cross-channel architectural salvage dealers

By Thornton Kay

EU office 32 Smith Square, London

UK - Personal feelings may be different, but the UK architectural salvage trade seems phlegmatic about the vote to leave the EU although many at this year's Salvo Fair commented that the run-up to the referendum seemed to result in a lack of customers and a fall in sales.

Comments filtering back to SalvoNEWS show some concern at future trade prospects between mainland Europe and UK cross-channel dealers.

One prominent cross-channel dealer, domiciled in France and selling in Britain, wrote:

Rushed straight back to the mainland in case they had already raised the drawbridge!! Its a disaster.. It could mean a rift with the French for a long time, they feel cheated and as we know they can hold a grudge for a long time.

The vast majority of outers I have spoken to are as shocked as we are. Most were doing a protest vote but as I tried to explain, you can do that with a local election but not with a 50/50 vote its like playing Russian roulette with all the barrels loaded.

I am deeply saddened by what has happened and think although Britain will of course bounce back (maybe without Scotland and Northern Ireland) it was all so unnecessary.

In my days at school if you had a problem with another boy you sorted it out in the playground!! (Boris and Cameron) Not by destroying a country.

Another south England dealer said, "The outers don't realise how much paperwork is involved in buying decorative and architectural antiques from France now - let alone after we leave. Customs will have a field day. My guess is that it will kill my business."

A more sanguine view from a pundit rather than a dealer was, "Britain is a good place to buy and sell and I don't see why this should change. It is too early to say what effect leaving the EU may have. The UK market is probably the second largest outside the USA"

Another view from a UK dealer based in France:
I spent 10 years running a reclamation business in the UK. There were times when in order to reclaim vast quantities of highly valuable materials (whole pavements of pennant flagstones spring to mind) I had no option but to bribe the council workers to dump the stuff in my yard rather than take it direct to landfill. I had previously contacted the council concerned on this matter. They has simply refused to bank my cheques preferring to consign the goods to landfill. I could cite many other examples. And you talk of EU directives ??? I now live in France. Several months back I was at my local council run tip and there was a fantastic circa 1900 shop sign in a skip. It was a 500 piece to the first passing dealer ! The guys running the tips here are under strict instructions that nothing shall go out of the tips, except for destruction in the official "recycling" skips, or direct to landfill in the "tout venant" (general waste) skips. My attempts to bribe them did not work, and they told me that I was being filmed by CCT and would be prosecuted if I took anything. This is the REALITY of government and councils Europe wide. The reclamation of items for re-use is a criminal activity and they will not hesitate to prosecute offenders. It only makes sense when one considers the following. The world is run by bankers and big business. The last thing they want is re-use. Re-use direclty reduces demand for new goods, and thus reduces consumption. Our debt based economy depends upon never ending exponential growth and increasing consumption. Sadly, the implications for everything from the environment to employment are evident. Much as I would like to see things move in the right direction, I feel that in reality such directives are nothing but bureaucratic lipservice to the green ideal.

What will happen to the EU Construction Products Regulations which appear set to outlaw reclaimed building materials within the EU over the coming years. Could this really happen?

The UK has the most robust salvage sector in Europe and has unknowingly held back the floodgates of anti-salvage sentiment from the big construction materials groups.

At the request of Salvo, successive UK governments have unofficially derogated from the CPD and CPR with respect to the reuse of reclaimed materials. Unofficially all EU countries appear to have followed the UK's lead. But more on that another day

Some 2015 election manifesto snippets

Where is reclaimed flooring heading?

UK government's own advice to business is not lawful on reuse

Salvage sector 'key to delivering' Wales waste programme

CITES responds to licenses and the reuse of reclaimed woodblock

Architectural Salvage issues hit The Economist

BRC advises against sale of old nickel cookware

Postings from Romania

EU bans six toxic chemicals

The ongoing Aga saga

Story Type:  News

ID: 95584

Date Modified: July 07, 2016, 09:30 AM

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