Briefing note sent to Barry Sheerman MP and Baroness Finlay co-chairs of APPCOG

This Briefing Note was written by Nathaniel Shaughnessy, manager of Policy Connect with regard to the attempt by Stephanie Trotter, OBE to make a presentation to the board of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) on the 10th September 2020. This presentation was unsatisfactory due to the fact that by the time Stephanie was called to make her presentation which had been put at the end of everything else, not a single member of the board was present. Stephanie wrote to the CEO of Policy Connect and after some correspondence this briefing note was agreed and sent on the 25.09.20

Briefing Note: CO-Gas Safety Presentation at 10-09 APPCOG Advisory Board

About CO-Gas Safety

CO-Gas Safety is an independent, registered charity working to achieve changes to reduce deaths and injuries from unintentional CO poisoning and other gas dangers. It provides support to those who suspect CO poisoning, victims and their families. Since 1995, it has also collected, collated & published data on deaths and injuries from unintentional CO. It is run almost entirely by volunteers and receives no guaranteed funding.

HSC/E Fundamental Review of Gas Safety

In 2000, following the ‘Fundamental Review of Gas Safety’, the Health and Safety Commission (now Executive) put forwarded a series of recommendations in its ‘Proposals for Change’ (also attached to this email) to improve Gas Safety management in the UK, including:

  1. A levy on the gas suppliers to pay for raising awareness of the dangers and for (recommendation 7)
  2. That the gas emergency service carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for emissions of carbon monoxide (CO). (recommendation 12)

20 years on, neither of these recommendations has been meaningfully implemented. CO-Gas Safety argues this is causing significant and avoidable hardship for survivors of CO poisoning and their families. With regard to (2) in particular, there remains no official free or straightforward procedure to obtain proof of the concentration of CO that was present in the air or emitting from live gas appliances. Whilst a survivor may be able to get a blood or breath test for CO, and the First Call Operators carry Personal Alarm Monitors, by the time either test is done, the appliances have long- since been switched off and the victim instructed to ventilate the room(s) and vacate the property. This has led to reports of survivors being disbelieved by friends, family and medical professionals, so preventing correct/sympathetic medical treatment and thereby wasting NHS funds. Due to its work, CO-Gas Safety is uniquely placed to understand the devastating impact this has, and this is further supported by research from Liverpool John Moore’s University into the experience of survivors.

CO-Gas Safety argues the implementation of these recommendations has always been needed. However, this is now acute as symptoms of CO poisoning could easily be misdiagnosed as COVID-19. Furthermore, OfGEM is providing expanded funding provided by the new £30m ‘use it or lose it’ allowance vulnerable consumers, and more under the innovation initiatives contained within RIIO-2. As such, this is both an essential and opportune moment to finally see these recommendations implemented.

CO-Gas Safety Recommendations

CO-Gas Safety asks the APPCOG board to:

  1. Meet relevant Ministers to call on industry & wealthy charities to take action before winter
  2. Table an immediate EDM to call on industry & wealthy charities to do the same
  3. Meet OfGEM & HSE to ask Gas Emergency Services to test appliances for CO
  4. Request immediate help from DoH for a coordinated educational programme for medics
  5. Facilitate funding for films for prime-time TV & other media.

British Gas engineers found 26,000 unsafe or dangerous gas and electric appliances in UK homes during the first eight months of the year

Fail! Survey finds shocking number of unsafe gas boilers in UK including within PRS

Posted on October 11, 2020 at 9:30 am

British Gas engineers found 26,000 unsafe or dangerous gas and electric appliances in UK homes during the first eight months of the year even though, LandlordZONE has been told, this includes rented properties, suggesting many PRS homes are still failing to meet basic safety standards.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, has also said many of these unsafe appliances included gas boilers despite the requirement that a landlord must provide a gas safety certificate each year for such appliances.

The research has been released by British Gas to tie-in with the tenth annual Gas Safety Week, which is currently under way (14th-20th September).

Despite the fact that the data includes rented homes, the research also revealed that the average person in the UK hasn’t had their gas appliances serviced by a qualified and gas safe registered engineer in more than 18 months – despite a fifth believing they might be faulty or dangerous.

LandlordZONE asked Centrica if it knew how many of the 26,000 dangerous appliances were in rented properties, but we have been told this information is not available, and only that ‘the data does include rented as well as owned homes’.

Safety basics

But the survey also revealed astonishing ignorance of home safety basics, with a fifth saying they didn’t even know that annual boiler services are recommended, and a third saying they had no idea that being able to smell gas can be an indication that something is unsafe.

With half of those polled saying they never worry about the safety of the gas appliances in their home, British Gas says it is using Gas Safety Week to help raise awareness and understanding – specifically the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors installed.

As well as the legal requirement to provide tenants with a gas safety certificate, the NRLA is reminding landlords that they are responsible for making sure all gas appliances, including the installation of pipe or flues, are maintained in a safe condition throughout the entire time the property is occupied.

Blog Post from Landlord Zone

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