A freedom of information (FOI) request made by Unite, the UK’s largest union, has revealed that mislabelled inferior tyres have been found being sold in the UK, which would endanger the lives of thousands of motorists.

In July, Unite revealed that, despite the European Union introducing strict regulations in 2012, which required all tyres to carry labels detailing fuel efficiency, grip in wet conditions and noise levels, the government had taken no enforcement action.

Government inaction

The government’s inaction was because the necessary secondary legislation had not been enacted. Unite warned at the time that the failure to ensure the regulations were being adhered to was placing the lives of road users in danger as inferior, mislabelled tyres mainly from Asia, were being sold in the UK.

The responsibility for ensuring the regulations are complied with has now transferred from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to the Department of Transport’s agency the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Unite then made a further FOI request to learn what enforcement activity the DVSA had taken on the matter.

Freedom of Information


In a freedom of information response to Unite, the DVSA admitted: “The DVSA has inspected four separate sites and found varying degrees of sites not displaying the correct labelling. Advice was provided to the site managers on what should be displayed.

“The MSU (Market Surveillance Unit) will be carrying out a programme of activities in 2018/19 working with trade bodies and distributors to raise the awareness of the regulations and monitor compliance.

“The work will include looking at ways of increasing compliance and helping consumers make informed choices.”

Startling admission

Unite national officer for the rubber industry Tony Devlin said: “This is a startling admission by the government. The DVSA has barely stuck its toe in the water and has already unearthed widespread non-compliance.

“The government needs to come clean and reveal how serious the tyre mislabelling problems are and who is responsible. Is it the manufacturer the supplier or the retailer?

“Awareness raising activities are all very well but if a company is deliberately ignoring the regulations and mislabelling tyres then there needs to be proper enforcement and prosecutions, as drivers lives are being placed in danger.”

Steer Well Clear

Unite has launched its ‘Steer Well Clear’ campaign which is putting pressure on the government to take action to ensure that mislabelled inferior Asian tyres are no longer being dumped  on the UK market, as well as educating drivers about the potential dangers of mislabelling and using inferior tyres.


Notes to editors:

Government failures risk the lives of road users

Warning over misleading tyre labelling

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org