Dyson challenges EU over 'dust-free' vacuum tests

James Dyson
Image caption Sir James Dyson feels the EU labelling system is not fair to his products

British manufacturer Dyson is mounting a legal challenge against the EU's labelling policy for vacuum cleaners, saying it gives a misleading impression of the firm's products.

Sir James Dyson, the firm's founder, said the EU's energy efficiency ratings were based on dust-free lab conditions, favouring "old-fashioned technology".

Dyson said home performance was "very different to that in the laboratory".

The firm has pioneered the bagless vacuum cleaner since 1991.

'Not representative'

From September 2014, all vacuum cleaners sold in the EU will be rated according to their performance and energy efficiency, on a scale from A to G.

The EU says the measure is part of efforts to meet its goal of cutting carbon emissions and saving energy.

It wants consumers to take the environment into consideration when they are buying household appliances.

Dyson said it had launched a judicial review at the European General Court in Luxembourg, because it felt the rating system would mislead people looking to buy a new vacuum cleaner.

"The regulations stipulate that vacuums should be tested in laboratory conditions: empty and with no dust," said the firm.

"This does not simulate real-life conditions and is not representative of the view of testing and standards bodies across Europe."

Dyson said its bagless design meant that its cleaners did not clog with dust and therefore wasted less energy.

It also said the EU's tests did not take into account the cost, "on both the pocket and the planet", of replacement bags and filters for older types of vacuum cleaner.

"Dyson fully supports the ambition to make the environmental impact of a machine easier to understand," said a spokesman for the firm.

"However, we are challenging aspects of the label because it will mislead consumers - notably the fact that the machines are tested in lab conditions free of dust, and the fact that environmentally damaging and costly consumables are not considered."

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