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Doctor's orders - June 2017

17 May 2017

Dr Carl Hunter takes a look at the international political landscape and explains how UK fire companies are uniquely placed to export their products.

THE UK and the USA are the leading fire engineering nations and the basis of our global industry in gaseous systems is ISO 14520 and much of the work for this is led by the UK. Churchill described a United Kingdom at the centre of three concentric circles of influence: the USA, Europe and the Commonwealth. We can add a fourth ‘Rest of the World’ circle. 

Our national capabilities are primarily in defence, security, intelligence, trade, finance and Parliament. These same skillsets will also be applied to our total commitment to a successful EU. Despite concerns an exciting opportunity now exists for a new relationship with the EU that reflects these capabilities. Let us look with optimism to this possibility regardless of our personal voting preferences last year. An EU we admire, support and secure is a just policy objective.


The UK is committed to our family, cultural and historical relationships in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and countries across Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Our expatriate populations from these provide one of the UK’s ‘hidden treasures’ as an enabler to expand cultural and trading relationships. The Commonwealth contains some of the fastest growing economies in the world and our ties of language, law, history, standards and commerce make them an engine of export growth and an intrinsic part of the global interests for our nation. Together with the GCC countries in the Gulf our interests exist from Amman to Tokyo, from Columbo to Auckland, but we cannot contribute to them if we remain distracted by a narrow regional outlook. It is in our national interest to understand that our global interests necessitate global engagement.

Our Values

The UK believes in tolerance, fairness, the right to faith, the dignity of the individual, our parliamentary sovereignty and monarchy. Of placing power in the hands of the people. Across the Atlantic this means the US Constitution. But here, though we seldom say it, the core of our sovereignty is in our Parliament. It is at the centre of our nation. For it is to Parliament that the powers of our monarchy have been delegated progressively and under law over 800 years since Magna Carta. The people touch that Sovereign power through their Members of Parliament in the House of Commons every time they vote for them.

Whether we wished to remain or leave the EU, we now have the opportunity to make Parliament represent not only the wishes of our people, but to renew its leadership role in the advocacy of our political and constitutional values. For these are at our centre. They have inspired our people and created our nation. If we recognise Parliament’s significance at home we will carry over its values into our foreign and defence policy. For just as many of the finest serve in HM Forces so do our finest Parliamentarians carry the measure of who we are.

Opportunity for fire

For 40 years the UK has never had a greater opportunity than today to re-define itself and our place in the world. If we define our vision today, then so too will cascade a definition of our mission tomorrow. And when we define our mission then the strategy for it will be clear and one that all our people can play their part in. We are only at the start of re-defining our country and its place in the world. But for the first time in our history its definition will be one that all of us will understand.

A wealth of opportunities exist for the UK fire industry to export but how many in our industry know of the commitment HM Government has to support it? One example is UK Export Finance, which is a self-funding department within HM Treasury, that can extend export guarantees to SME’s for as little as £10,000 orders. It not only applies to you as the seller but, if more appropriate, to your customer, the buyer too. It is all there for you to access. You can find out more information at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-export-finance 

Dr Carl Hunter is CEO of Coltraco Ultrasonics. For more information, visit www.coltraco.com