We are an independent registered charity with cross party support at the House of Commons and European Parliament. We were founded by Molly Maher and Nigel Griffiths, MP. CO-Gas Safety was launched at the House of Commons on the 25th January 1995 to work to try to reduce accidents from Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning and other gas dangers. We lobby for changes, which will help to achieve this. We also help and advise victims whenever we can.
Stephanie Trotter became involved through meeting Molly Maher, who had lost her son, Gary, through CO poisoning in Tenerife. Molly’s daughter, Sheree was confined to a wheelchair, as a result of the same incident. Stephanie had been campaigning for children’s activity holiday centres to be licensed. (Her son, Alex, was injured at one and had to have an operation for a clot on the brain. Luckily he recovered completely and now has a 2:1 degree from Southampton University (Philosophy).
Stephanie is a barrister, who has practised and has also lectured at the Inns of Court School of Law for nine years, (postgraduate course – final year of the Bar Exams). Please note that Stephanie has worked for CO-Gas Safety as a full time volunteer since it was launched in 1995.
Stephanie knew nothing about CO poisoning when she started and the charity had no funding for the first year. Hardly any bodies would talk to us or help us, so she learned from the victims and their families. The same stories recurred again and again. Quite quickly, she had compiled a list of aims and objectives that were prepared in February 1995 for our constitution. It is depressing to read these now and find that so few are fulfilled and so many are still extremely urgent. However, there is now a European Standard for CO alarms (EN50291), and more or less, registration for individual gas operatives. We have also published our own data of CO deaths and incidents. But there are still objectives that are unfulfilled, for example that landlords be licensed, and/or required to service appliances or at least have them tested for combustion gasses and records made and kept and given to the tenant and that no household be supplied with gas, without proof of service.
Our greatest achievements so far are:- (newest first)
916. 21.07.21 By email Stephanie asked Andy Ogden from Morgan Lambert to confirm that ML can’t provide expert investigators to CO-Gas Safety and to give us reasons.
915. 21.07.21 Stephanie emailed Coroner’s officer David Freeman from the Oxford Coroner’s court about experts and recommended Morgan Lambert although having checked ML and also Qualitas which is another branch (which does Housing Associations and the like) say they can’t help CO-Gas Safety.
914. 20.07.21 Stephanie emailed Kerry Potter to tell her that her case study was now on our website and thanked her again.
913. 20.07.21 Stephanie had a very good zoom meeting with Shona re our e-learning course that she is putting together. This is coming on well.
912. 20.07.21 Stephanie finished email to Baroness Finlay and briefing note having had suggestions from the work group and sent it about midday.
911. 19.07.21 Stephanie spoke to Stephen Iredale about his cut off system.
910. 16.07.21 Stephanie worked for a few days on a briefing note for the Minister for HSE, Mims Davies MP to send this to Baroness Finlay to send to the Minister.
909. 15.07.21 Stephanie emailed Adam John from Utility Week – recommended by Matt Cole. Later had a chat with him and sent a lot of documents to him.
908. 14.07.21 Coroner’s officer David Freeman asked if we knew any gas experts. Stephanie recommended CORGI Technical.
907.13.07.21 Stephanie finished list of work done and sent it to the work group to read. Stephanie had a conversation about the House Magazine.
908. 12.07.21 Stephanie worked hard on list of work done.
907. 10.07.21 Stephanie sent a response to Laura Fatah who had pointed out that maybe CO-Gas Safety ought not to be continuing to lobby for testing the air and appliances for CO. Stephanie pointed out that CO-Gas Safety supports any measure that might help save lives or prevent injuries etc. even if it wasn’t top of CO-Gas Safety’s list, but that we had come back to testing as necessary for safety and for data etc. and also to help survivors obtain the right medical help.
906. 09.07.21 Stephanie sent Laura Fatah, manager of Policy Connect detailed comments on the CO Data Workshop held on the 1st April, notes sent towards the end of April. This was also sent to Baroness Finlay, Barry Sheerman MP and Peter Bottomley MP and also our directors and patron Lord Hunt.
905. 08.07.21 Stephanie Trotter received approval from Stephanie Peacock’s office for her name to be on our notepaper in the form suggested.
904. 08.07.21 Stephanie had a good meeting with Kerry Potter and Dan Edwards from SGN. Hectic day dealing with flyer and special Jersey leaflet.
903. 07.07.21 Stephanie had an excellent meeting about developing an e-learning course about CO for consumers.
902. 06.07.21 Stephanie worked hard on the response to the CO data workshop held on 01.04.21 and notes sent at the end of April. Too busy to do this until now.
901. 05.07.21 Stephanie talked to Jennifer Wood, who inputs our data, and she will be updating our CO alarms page on our website.
Stephanie responded to Baroness Finlay – letter in italics
We were delighted to receive your letter dated 23.06.21* to Mims Davies MP, Minister for the HSE asking the government to consider requiring the Gas Emergency Service’s First Call Operatives (FCOs) to test appliances for carbon monoxide (CO) when its presence is suspected.
*but Adrian has just explained, sent 28.06.21.
Obviously, we are waiting eagerly to hear if your suggestion is accepted.
We do have some ideas that in our opinion, could greatly assist your excellent initiative. You may already have these in mind and/or be doing them.
- I noticed that the letter is only from you as Chair of the CO Research Trust (CORT), not also from the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group. Perhaps you could possibly ask the rest of APPCOG for support for this? Perhaps you could also seek the views of the stakeholder group? Following your letter up with a show of support from many organisations such as APPCOG, the Gas Safe Charity, the Fire & Rescue Service, the Katie Haines Memorial Trust, ourselves etc. could surely help?
- Your last paragraph states ‘I appreciate that there are economic and regulations implications for such a change…’. We do understand that regulations might be needed or be helpful. However, surely it would help if you pointed out that this initiative needn’t cost Government any funds because if HSE asked Ofgem to do this, Ofgem could simply require the gas emergency service to do this via its licensing conditions?
Also, perhaps it might help to inform the Minister that reducing deaths and injuries from CO would presumably reduce the £178 million cost to the taxpayer for the known deaths and injuries from unintentional CO, let alone the unknown ones.
- We wondered if it might help to point out that testing by FCOs was recommended by HSC/E in 2000 after an exhaustive gas safety review and with the support of the majority of the stakeholders who are mainly industry? This might give confidence to the Minister that this issue has been well researched, had industry support and also improve HSE’s morale.
- We also wondered if you could possibly request a meeting with the Minister about this and ask to take some survivors, families and bodies such as CO-Gas Safety and the Katie Haines Memorial Trust with you?
We do have other comments that might help but these are our main ideas for you to consider with regard to your letter to the Minister.
We’d be happy to liaise with Adrian with regard to the other possibly helpful ideas we have for you to consider in order to persuade the Minister to fully consider your request to require the Gas Emergency Service’s First Call Operatives (FCOs) to test appliances for carbon monoxide (CO) when its presence is suspected and to agree.
Thank you very much indeed for writing this letter to the Minister.’
899. 30.06.21 Stephanie heard from Cassi the mother of the nine year old who died from open air CO poisoning in the USA. Little Andy Free, aged nine, had been “curled up” at the back of his family’s Malibu Skier at Lake Eufaula in Oklahoma in early June 2020, “slowly dying” of open air carbon monoxide poisoning his devastated mom wrote on Facebook. https://tinyurl.com/yv5ndsj7 Cassi is bravely trying to raise awareness of this new danger of open air carbon monoxide poisoning. We had heard of people dying in the States and Canada from using a swim platform when the engine was still on and producing fumes but not while sitting in a boat.
898. 29.06.21 Stephanie sent a report to Laura Fatah about what CO-Gas Safety had been doing lately as this hadn’t been approved by the work group, before the APPCOG meeting. Stephanie also chased up a case study.
897. 28.06.21 Stephanie worked on some case studies. Stephanie also received from Adrian McConnell a letter written by Baroness Finlay dated the 23.06.21 to Mims Davies MP asking the government to consider testing air for CO. This was brilliant news, but she was writing as Chair of the CO Research Trust only not as a co-chair of APPCOG.
896. 24.06.21 APPCOG meeting. Stephanie mentioned the need for testing because survivors find it so difficult to be believed by medics. Stephanie Peacock MP was present for the photo launch of raising CO awareness over the summer, which was lovely.
895. 23.06.21 Stephanie had a very productive zoom meeting with the authorities in Jersey Pierre Chays, Linzi Duckworth and Robin Fitzgerald. They were all very helpful especially Pierre Chays Assistant Registrar of Shipping and Harbour Pilot who offered to make a film of him on his boat as he’s found his CO alarm goes off when he starts his engine. All the members of this group have offered to print and distribute a flyer about the competition we’re running on Jersey and produce a special Jersey edition of our leaflet. These are now on our website https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/resources/competition-jersey/
894. 21.06.21 Stephanie had a good chat with Louise Baldock who is a Liverpool Councillor who tragically lost her fiancé to CO in 1999. Stephanie would like to work with Louise.
893. For the last three months, at least, Stephanie spent a lot of time selecting and talk to media companies. Sue Westwood has also helped with this.
892. During June helped several survivors or tried to. It’s getting almost impossible to find a gas expert even paid thousands to investigate, test for CO and write a report.
891. 14.06.21 Stephanie wrote to Laura Fatah, manager of Policy Connect re APPCOG and re her
presentation about CO alarms for the IGEM conference which was very good. Stephanie wrote about the fact that it’s very likely that CO alarms are going to be made mandatory for all rented property, which have appliances powered by carbon based fuels, except cookers. That we would naturally welcome this although we think other things should be done as well, ‘for example testing for CO/servicing at the landlords’ gas safety check and more enforcement on landlords’ gas safety checks/certificates to prevent CO in the first place. However, we would welcome a discussion on the consequences of these changes, which we’d be happy to do via email.’ Stephanie suggested that perhaps Laura would like to include Adrian McConnell in this discussion?
Trotter told Laura that the charity is glad to hear that APPCOG is arguing to include (not exclude) cookers in this hoped for/expected legislation about CO alarms.
‘Do you realise that Government used data CO-Gas Safety collected, collated and published to exclude cookers? Yet we have always argued that we only receive the tip of an iceberg of data and that our deaths are merely illustrative of the detail in the cases we do receive because:-
- There is no automatic testing on death for CO, so goodness knows how many deaths are caused/contributed to by CO let alone which appliance and
- At the moment there is no easy way for anyone who suspects they have been exposed to CO, but survive, to find out which appliances has been emitting CO.
As the government has, in our opinion, wrongly used our data to justify excluding cookers with regard to mandatory CO alarms in rented property, we are surely in a unique position to assist and support you in your argument?’
890. 10.06.21 Jonathan Kane visited Stephanie in the Isle of Wight to catch up. Jonathan gave Stephanie a useful personal CO alarm and ID holder designed for registered gas engineers. Range 0-300 PPM and accuracy +/- 5 PPM to 100 PPM.
889. 09.06.21 Stephanie gave talk at the IGEM Safety conference (virtually of course see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/resources/presentations/) Trotter had tried three times to get used to Hopin the software IGEM uses and had had help from Tip Top Computers who had never heard of Hopin but still found it very difficult. No questions were asked which was disappointing. The title of the talk was ‘Why testing for CO matters’. IGEM kindly allowed survivors to access free, but nobody seemed to have managed this although several told Stephanie they had tried.
888. 03.06.21 Stephanie had a zoom meeting with Matt Murphy, BBC journalist writing an article about the inquiry into All Party Groups. Frank Brehany also attended.
887. 26.05.21 Stephanie wrote a Face Book comment on Cassandra Free’s FB page asking her to contact us. Cassi tragically lost her nine year old son to CO on a boat – this was open air CO poisoning. Stephanie sent her email address and asked Cassi to write to the charity.
886. 26.05.21 Stephanie wrote to Baroness Finlay about the urgency of testing dead bodies and the gas appliances of survivors for CO. That without testing there is no data, and without data there is no change and improvement.
885. 26.05.21 Stephanie accelerated the complaint about the lack of a gas safety check and certificate for a Council tenant Trotter’s been trying to help for years to Pat Kelly of HSE.
884. 25.05.21 Stephanie tried to find an independent gas expert court witness for a survivor. All seem to have retired except for CORGI Technical. IGEM is kindly putting out a call for such experts.
883. 25.05.21 Stephanie having related with Linda Mee of IGEM sent out details of talk at IGEM on 09.06.21 to survivors. IGEM will allow them to attend free which is very helpful.
882. 25.05.21 Stephanie had a long session with techy Richard Banks of Tip Top Computer.
881. 25.05.21 Stephanie heard from IGEM that all survivors etc. could attend the talk about CO on the 9th June free so she sent out an email to many contacts.
880. 24.05.21 Stephanie had another meeting on zoom with another media company.
879. 24.05.21 Stephanie chased a Coroner for a test for CO of someone deceased and related with their family.
878. 20.05.21 Stephanie reported the lack of a Council tenant’s gas safety check and certificate to HSE.
877. 20.05.21 Stephanie heard about another media company. She also wrote the terms and conditions of the Off-Griders’ competition. She also gave a talk to some people about carbon monoxide arranged by Karen Lock of Bucks Fire & Rescue. They were a really great audience and asked some excellent questions.
876. 18.05.21 Stephanie found our submission about All Party Parliamentary Groups had been published on the House of Commons website. See https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/290/committee-on-standards/publications/
875. 18.05.21 Rohit Chakrobarty answered an email Stephanie had put out ages ago. Rohit had written some research on wood burners and pollution. Stephanie had inquired about research to prove well serviced gas appliances emitted less pollution or not as the case may be. Mentioned Dr James Heydon.
874. 18.05.21 Stephanie heard from Stuart Upton of BRE about the fragrance sticks setting off CO alarms. Very helpful couple of articles. Responded to him and sent to work group and Joanne Elsey.
873. 18.05.21 Stephanie had a very helpful chat with Adam Scorer of NEA (National Energy Action).
872. 14.05.21 Stephanie and Sue had a zoom meeting with another media company.
871. 11.05.21 Stephanie spoke to Nick Rosen of the Off-Gridders about a competition. Also, a media company.
870. 06.05.21 Email from Pat Kelly of HSE – it seems that mentioning the HSC/E’s recommendations is discouraged, despite the fact that testing of gas appliances for CO is needed.
869. Stephanie caught up with some survivors – news not good.
868. 04.05.21 Stephanie had a meeting on zoom with another media firm.
867. 30.04.21 Stephanie sent the Hansard report of MP Stephanie Peacock’s adjournment debate around.
866. 29.04.21 Stephanie Peacock MP has kindly agreed to be CO-Gas Safety’s Labour party Parliamentary friend.
865. 27.04.21 Stephanie talked to Sadie Dainton of BSI and was promised a free version of some British Standards which is excellent. Stephanie had sent in a complaint because when she agreed to pay around £300 for a standard, she was told either she could choose the printed version or the virtual version but not both unless she paid again. This didn’t seem logical or reasonable.
864. 27.04.21 The work group agreed to ask Stephanie Peacock MP to be our Labour MP and Trotter wrote quite a bit about CO and how to prevent it to her researcher.
863. 26.04.21 Stephanie wrote to Steve Brown of Ofgem and copied to Peter Bottomley MP and the directors and Laura Fatah of APPCOG.
862. 25.04.21 Stephanie and Sue Westwood are undertaking a lot of work to find the right media company for our media campaign. Stephanie had a reasonably good idea for a Christmas warning but is hoping for better ones.
861. 23.04.21 Stephanie related with Margaret Jeffery about the competition in Jersey. Wrote some rules.
860. 21.04.21 Stephanie Peacock MP gave her adjournment debate in the House of Commons see https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-04-21/debates/4DEC2B32-5920-4923-B969-E1FC5B2DF929/CarbonMonoxideSafetyTestingAndAwareness Stephanie circulated this.
859. 21.04.21 Stephanie gave a talk at the cross departmental committee of civil servants about CO.
Gordon Samuel made a good point about a neighbour a medic who worked at St Georges saying maybe lots of elderly people rushed in with respiratory problems were really CO. So why isn’t this followed up with testing at the homes of such people? Are they being allowed to go home without being told to at least ring the gas emergency service?
858. 16.04.21 We heard that Stephanie Peacock MP has got her adjournment debate.
857. 15.04.21 Stephanie had a virtual meeting with Roland Johns to update the course he put together with help from the original PPP for schools and huge help from John O’Leary who very kindly made new drawings where needed. Stephanie sent updated charts and statistics to Roland.
856. 14.04.21 Stephanie had a Teams meeting with Andy Speake of AICO and also his marketing colleague Alex Garmston about the fact that the AICO CO alarm can have its data downloaded onto a smart phone. We discussed how to make sure this was easy for people to understand and will be making a film. Sadly, Sue Westwood wasn’t able to attend this meeting as she is unwell after a Covid-19 jab.
855. 13.04.21 Stephanie wrote to the Chief Coroner about a case concerning a man who could have died of CO in February. The deceased’s brother asked the Coroner to test for CO because the gas boiler for the building (8 rooms with a communal laundry room where the boiler was situated next door to the deceased’s room) had work done a few days before the death of the deceased. The pathologist refused to test for CO because he said the blood was ‘the wrong colour’. Stephanie managed to persuade the Coroner to ask for a test, but it will take weeks probably until the 21st May. The Coroner’s officer told Stephanie that if the police had asked for a test, it could take four months or longer if the police forgets to send the samples. Stephanie considered this wasn’t good enough, particularly where others could be at risk.
854. 01.04.21 Attended the APPCOG meeting chaired by Baroness Finlay which was all about data. Had sent her an email the night before about the need to test for CO if the data was to be collected accurately.
853. 26.03.21 Stephanie decided after a meeting with Jane Blackwell and Anthony Reid that the design specification for the funding application intentionally excluded testing for CO by the gas emergency service so wrote to say that we would have to withdraw and not make a presentation.
852. 25.03.21 Stephanie had a meeting with Stephanie Peacock MP over Teams. We had a very good meeting. Wrote to her and her researcher who is also very good and sent lots of documents. We discussed APPCOG.
851. 19.03.21 Stephanie sent an email to Neil Atkinson CEO of IGEM
‘I hope you are well.
I wondered how this was going? I’ve copied Roland in because I am sure you recall that he offered to help. I can’t think of anyone better to help you than Roland Johns, retired British Gas investigator and trainer but someone with very modern attitudes – more thoughtful and futuristic than many young people in gas. How he escaped being imbued with the same old ‘do it as it’s always been done’ and ‘sweep any problems under the carpet’ attitudes is beyond me, but he would be ideal. He’s heard nothing from you, and you might miss your opportunity if you don’t chase this up as soon as possible.
Please don’t ask him to do anything on March 31st in the afternoon as he’s kindly promised to help us on that afternoon.’
850. 18.03.21 Stephanie heard we’d got through the first round re the EIC and will be invited to make a presentation to EIC on 31.03.21.
849. 16.03.21 Round table on CO – putting safer heating at the heart of building renovations. Stephanie attended this meeting.
848. 09.03.21 Submitted first application to EIC.
847. 05.03.21 Stephanie Trotter wrote to Oona Muirhead with Laura Fatah, Baroness Finlay, Barry Sheerman MP and Peter Bottomley MP also copied in about the need for HSE to consult with Ofgem and vice versa as required under the Mou and for the need to implement the HSC/E recommendations made in 2000 to raise awareness and test gas appliances for CO and to clarify/change the landlord’s gas safety check to be a test for CO or a service. Various others were copied in.
846. 04.03.21 Stephanie Trotter attended the Stakeholder meeting of APPCOG. Baroness Finlay there at the start but otherwise no members of Parliament.
CO-Gas Safety’s update to the stakeholder group of APPCOG
We marked 26 years on 25th January 2021 – Lockdown hasn’t stopped our work.
We haven’t brought out an annual press pack but written a summary and a press release to announce some incredibly generous donations.
I’ll send the link to Laura and will just give a few headlines.https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/information/annual-report-2020/
£100,000 anonymous donation in December 2020
£2,150 donation from the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps in March 2020
£22,134 donation from npower in December 2020
£20,000 pledge from Kane International for a 1 year CO awareness campaign
Filming isn’t easy in lockdown, but we know we can start soon.
We are now considering productive ways to use these donations. It’s a bit like waiting for a bus for 26 years and then four turn up at once.
We continue to press for implementation of recommendations made by HSC/E in 2000 because they are still essential – we are still surprised to find, even amongst the fire brigade & gas industry, awareness & knowledge of prevention is still low.
We are working well with the GDNs – particularly Cadent and NGN. Cadent has allowed access to the online Safety Seymour by the schools in Jersey for a competition to take place. However, Jersey is outside the UK so it looks as if CO-Gas Safety will have to supply the prizes which, now we have funds, we can now do.
We are very concerned symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus including Covid.
Like Covid, testing for CO is vital – Without testing appliances it is unlikely survivors will be found to be part of St George’s planned research. We do have a couple who were poisoned in a barbecue hut who have proof of CO from a picture of a digital CO alarm, and they are happy to help provided they can keep anonymous as they will be taking legal action.
We also press for legislative changes such as the landlord’s gas safety check to include mandatory testing for CO and for CO alarms to be mandatory in all properties.
We’re disappointed our data was used as justification to exclude gas cookers from the Consultative Document on extending Smoke & CO alarms Regs. We are very glad Baroness Finlay and APPCOG are also taking up this issue.
We’ve always maintained, until there is automatic testing for CO, the number of deaths from CO is unknown – Testing survivors is even more complicated.
We continue to support survivors & families but what they really need is proof for their medics and families – This would also give rise to data which we know is missing.
Finding someone to test appliances for CO is even harder because many independent gas experts have retired.
Data was supposed to be collected from 75,000 homes from research announced as funded in 2015. This would have been incredibly useful, particularly when analysing CO risks from solid and other fuels.
If testing was performed by the gas emergency service this would produce similar data, although using dataloggers in randomly selected homes would be even more useful.
Ofgem recently said “If HSE asked Ofgem to find funding for GDNs to test appliances for CO, Ofgem would find the funding”.
Sadly, HSE has ignored our request to meet as has the office of Mims Davies, MP, Minister for HSE – If APPCOG asked for a meeting with her, they might have better luck. So please will APPCOG do this?
845. 16.02.21 4th anniversary of the death of Ken Jeffery. Very good article by the Jersey Evening Post with Margaret, Ken’s widow and Emma, Ken’s daughter on the front page. This was put on the website https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/02/16/widows-campaign-highlights-dangers-of-carbon-monoxide/
844. 13.02.21 Stephanie had a very good zoom meeting with Margaret Jeffery, Rod McLoughlin from the Jersey Evening Post and Margaret’s stepdaughter, Emma. This was to discuss the fourth year anniversary of Ken Jeffery’s death and the efforts being made to bring awareness about CO to Jersey using the materials made available online by Cadent.
843. 07.02.21 Stephanie wrote to the Times about the sad death of Dave the Englishman in Austria in a mountain hut. She also wrote to three journalists on Twitter asking to be put in touch with the family and also the Austrian Embassy.
842. 06.02.21 Stephanie wrote letter to the Times about energy cap being raised and gas emergency service.
841. 05.02.21 Stephanie spoke to Roland Johns about his zoom meeting with CEO of IGEM Neil Atkinson – all seems promising.
840. 04.02.21 Stephanie received an email from Neil Atkinson, CEO of IGEM
‘ It appears to be a ‘CO’ day!
FYI – IGEM is potentially interested in exploring how this project could be taken forward – it may present the opportunity to perhaps involving some of the thoughts you have been expressing.
On a separate point IGEM is now firming plans for a virtual Gas Safety Conference – June 6, and CO will feature within the programme as a Stream. It would be good to get Roland’s offering announced as an e-course at that point in time.’
839. 02.02.21 Stephanie wrote to Bob Seely MP and copied to all the directors including Andrew Rosindell MP and also Peter Bottomley MP about the need to implement HSC/E’s recommendations and particularly to test for CO and need for action and asked for help to see the Ministers, particularly Mims Davies MP and Min for HSE. Peter kindly responded.
838. 28.01.21 Stephanie wrote again to Mims Davies MP Minister of the HSE
HSE and what Mims Davies could do to improve morale and give a quick win for the government and Conservative party
Dear Mims Davies MP, Minister for the HSE,
Please see attached increase in call outs for carbon monoxide (CO) incidents reported by the London Fire Brigade (increase of 10% see https://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2021/01/26/shocking-figures-reveal-uk-fire-fighters-callouts-increase-to-deal-with-cases-related-to-carbon-monoxid). Please note that symptoms of CO are similar to any virus including Covid-19.
There are a few straightforward things that you could do that would help prevent deaths and injuries, are Covid-19 related, show the electorate that the government cares about them and which would also raise your profile.
- On behalf of HSE ask Ofgem to find the funding for the gas emergency service to use equipment to test the air and the emissions from gas appliances for carbon monoxide. Testing should be done ideally every time they call or at least when carbon monoxide is suspected.
- Call for the recommendation made by HSE to impose a levy on the gas suppliers to raise awareness of the dangers of CO and for research in 2000 to be imposed at last. We’d prefer the whole carbon fuel industry, but the gas suppliers are easier to reach. We also suggest funding is needed for victim support. This would need Parliamentary time.
- Lead on a call for a change/clarification of the law for:- (a) The landlord’s gas safety check to be either a service or mandatory test of the flue gasses or ideally both. Please see this has industry support https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/A-hidden-killer-New-Law-Journal-23.03.18-022_NLJ_7786_BackPage_Trotter.pdf This might be done under secondary legislation. Why isn’t a test of the flue gasses for the deadly gas carbon monoxide (which can’t be sensed using human senses) already mandatory? (b) Landlord’s gas safety check and certificate – basically aim was for this to be done before tenant signed agreement or occupied the premises but other legislation governing notice to quit has resulted in a nightmare of contradictory legislation. Please could HSE clarify this. Please see https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2020/06/the-trecarrell-conundrum/ and https://www.lambchambers.co.uk/latest-news/property-trecarrell-house-ltd-v-rouncefield-2020-ewca-civ-760/ and https://www.lambchambers.co.uk/latest-news/property-trecarrell-house-ltd-v-rouncefield-2020-ewca-civ-760/
837. 27.01.21 Stephanie talked to Patricia Rouncefield for two hours see https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2020/0/the-trecarrell-conundrum/ and https://www.lambchambers.co.uk/latest-news/property-trecarrell-house-ltd-v-rouncefield-2020-ewca-civ-760/ and https://www.lambchambers.co.uk/latest-news/property-trecarrell-house-ltd-v-rouncefield-2020-ewca-civ-760/ She’s waiting to hear if she’s got Legal Aid for an application to leave to the Supreme Court. It’s an issue of public importance – whether the lack of provision of a gas safety check can be cured after the tenant has taken occupation. Stephanie agrees with Moylan’s dissenting judgement in the Court of Appeal which seemed to boil down to – the difference between the law on gas safety and the laws on things like deposits is that gas safety is a health and safety issue. Reg. 36(7) of the 1998 Gas Safety Installation and Use) Regulations. Also Reg. 36 (6). Main point of discussion was what to do if LA refused. Various options discussed.
836. 22.01.21 Stephanie worked again on the press release, report and list of work done. Stephanie was contacted by the Independent about lots of gas explosions. Sue Westwood and Jim Lambeth gave Stephanie feedback on the press release and report etc. Learned about SF6.
835. 21.01.21 Great news from Phil Burrows about the CO awareness competition going online see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/competition-about-co-for-school-pupils/ Stephanie put a post on our website and congratulated Phil. She also wrote to Margaret Jeffery in Jersey.
834. 21.01.21 Stephanie had a conversation with Patricia Rouncefield who is waiting to hear if she has Legal Aid to go to the Supreme Court on her case. We agreed to talk on Wednesday 27th January. https://www.landmarkchambers.co.uk/trecarrell-house-ltd-v-rouncefield-2020-ewca-civ/
833. 19.01.21 to 25.01.21 Stephanie worked on press release and report. She checked the charts and the sheet of statistics. This work was done towards publication for the charity’s 26th anniversary.
832. 18.01.21 Stephanie wrote also to Matthew Bateman, CEO of British Gas about the need for a test of gas appliances for CO from the gas emergency service and/or British Gas and also asked for British Gas to take a lead on safety as CO was a safety issue and relevant all over the world.
831. 18.01.21 Stephanie wrote to Mims Davies, Minister for the HSE, pointing out that she was responsible for the HSE and gas emergency service, which should test gas appliances for CO.
830. 29.01.21 Stephanie received the following from Neil Atkinson, CEO of IGEM
‘Stephanie – my apologies, but with year end etc this one slipped too far down the inbox.
Thank you for sending through your 2020 Report.
I have just confirmed a time with Roland for a connection but I don’t have Andy’s details immediately to hand (perhaps you could forward so I can pick up there?). I also plan to raise the question of research with GISG.
FYI we now have a Gas Safety event in mind for late Spring and this might well be of interest to the group.’
829. 26.01.21 Stephanie sent a follow up email to Neil Atkinson, CEO of IGEM
‘I do hope you are well. We would appreciate a response to our suggestion that there might be research by a university. Obviously, we are hoping that IGEM could call for this and possibly help fund it?
There are other issues in our email dated 06.01.21 (relating with Andy Gibbs, talking to those on the receiving end of the ACS course, training the trainers, mentoring inexperienced gas engineers etc.) and we’d greatly appreciate a response. We’d be more than happy to help in any way that we can.
I attach our press release and report of the year 2020.
We seem to be attracting a great deal of support which is brilliant, but we can’t do this alone. We need the gas industry to support what needs to be done and we need the leaders of the gas industry to at least call for change and improvement. I do so hope that this will happen.’
828. 06.01.21 Stephanie sent an email to Neil Atkinson, CEO of IGEM
Many thanks Neil. It is much appreciated that you’ve taken the time and trouble to engage seriously with us.
https://sgn.co.uk/sites/default/files/media-entities/documents/2019-07/SGN-Oban-Gas-Market-Report-Full-Report-2016.pdf is quite a long document, so I haven’t had time yet to read all of it. Correct me if I’ve not read enough, but it seemed to me to just find that 2% were ‘ID’ (Immediately Dangerous) and 4% were ‘at risk’. Did you know that Katie Haine’s* boiler was declared ‘at risk’ and she and her husband didn’t realise this was dangerous and sadly she had a bath and died of drowning due to becoming unconscious from CO? *Katie Haines of the Katie Haines Memorial Trust – you may have heard about her parents, Gordon and Avril Samuel?
Instead of testing by a commercial company, I was thinking of a study by a university. Namely research in randomly selected homes of heating and cooking appliances:-
- Before maintenance
- A test for efficiency & fuel economy.
- A test of the flue gasses for CO and ideally other products of combustion.
- A test for these gasses in the living space and
- A test for these emissions into the atmosphere.
Date of the installation and the last service and chimney/flue sweeping/testing, if any, and whether who did that was qualified/registered or not.
- After maintenance and correction of any installation problems
- A test for efficiency & fuel economy.
- A test of the flue gasses for CO and ideally other products of combustion.
- A test for these gasses in the living space and
- A test for these emissions into the atmosphere.
If this study hasn’t been done, perhaps it could be done now? If the findings are what we all hope they will be, then the results could be presented to the general public and Government as a wake-up call to get appliances properly installed and maintained. The reasons could be numerous, from saving fuel costs to saving the planet, the people inside the homes, their children and their health.
Gas, coal and wood could also be compared with, we suspect, gas coming out way on top.
If the findings are not what we hope them to be, at least we’d find the truth and perhaps hasten the hydrogen revolution and/or perhaps stimulate a filtering system for flue gasses in homes?
Data is constantly attacked for not being impartial – yet these days most universities seem desperate for funding. Therefore, in my opinion they are not necessarily impartial. But the assumption/illusion that they are still hangs on – just as there is an assumption/illusion that the Gas Board still exists…
Perhaps funding could be obtained from several sources and those with different interests consulted at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of this study. Also, an agreement at the start could ensure that although views are taken into account, there is no obligation to tune the results to the wishes of those who’ve funded the research. These safeguards could ensure such a study is as impartial as it’s possible to be.
Talking to those on the ground
You have already shown you are willing to do this by engaging with us and we are very grateful. Victims of CO, survivors of CO exposure and their families and those who represent them are the most affected. But RGEs are also hugely affected.
I had a very interesting chat with Andy Gibbs yesterday, a RGE for about 30 years. I’d be most grateful if you could reach out to him re the ACS course. If you would agree to this, he told me yesterday that he would be happy to talk to you. In my view some of the problems have been caused by those in high positions refusing to even speak or listen to those ‘on the ground’. If you are interested in improving training then in my opinion you could also speak to Ben Kuchta, who is one of the IGEM trustees. In your shoes I’d want to talk to everyone but perhaps starting particularly with those on the receiving end of the ACS course?
Training the trainers
Have you had time to get in touch with Roland Johns since Christmas? Roland would be ideal to train the trainers. There are others too such as Dave Bendle, who has just retired.
Mentoring inexperienced RGEs
As a young barrister I was always able to comfort myself with the fact that nobody was going to die as a direct result of my incompetence or lack of knowledge. However, inexperienced RGEs can’t comfort themselves with this and it can’t be easy for them. Perhaps, a formal mentoring scheme already exists?
If not, it would surely be such a help and an inducement to attract more decent RGEs to the industry if RGEs with a problem could have a formal way of reaching out to someone with years of experience? These days with iPhones and iPads it’s a lot easier to communicate by showing pictures of the boiler etc. to the mentor. Retired or semi-retired investigators and trainers could do this from home etc. IGEM could lead by setting this up.
Thank you again for your response. We really want to help you improve the system for the sake of all those involved.’
827. 05.01.21 Stephanie received an email from Neil Atkinson.
‘Ian has just reminded me that the SGN Oban report is a thorough study: https://sgn.co.uk/sites/default/files/media-entities/documents/2019-07/SGN-Oban-Gas-Market-Report-Full-Report-2016.pdf which apparently concluded that appliance maintenance, servicing and replacement when required produces a 7-fold reduction in the absolute risk.
As poorly maintained gas appliances increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas leaks reminding the public of the importance of staying gas safe and having their gas appliances (heating, fires, cookers) serviced regularly by a Gas Safe Registered engineer is a key message.’
826. 14.12.20 Trotter and Sue Westwood had a zoom meeting with Neil Atkinson CEO of IGEM. We discussed the lack of testing for CO by the gas emergency service and asked for IGEM’s views and influence to change this.
On the 15.12.20 Trotter sent an aide memoire of this meeting:-
‘I started by drawing attention to your article in Gi Magazine and your first paragraph which greatly encouraged us, ‘WITH THE ENERGY transition upon us, our industry is at a fork in the road. Perform well and we have a bright, interesting future with high quality jobs ahead. Conversely, the industry faces a terminal decline if it does not respond with excellence.’ We agree wholeheartedly with this.
We started discussing gas being the cleaner fuel than coal or wood. I asked for some authority about this and explained that being a lawyer I always felt I had to have one. I have since found the attached ‘Natural gas really is better than coal’ 14.02.20.
We think natural gas does have a future but we are concerned that people might think wood is more ‘eco’ because it can be renewed. We are also concerned that wealthier people will turn to hydrogen leaving poorer people to gas with far fewer gas engineers, who may perhaps have falling standards of expertise. However, we consider that CO is a worldwide problem, and that safety could earn the gas industry huge profits abroad by educating the public and raising standards of the training of gas engineers as well as systems such as Gas Tag.
We discussed that the gas emergency service lacks equipment to test gas appliances for CO.
I suggested that testing the air and ideally the appliances for CO is necessary to:-
- Identify the source of the CO if any and
- To provide the survivor with some idea of how much CO he or she has been exposed to in parts per million, so medics give the correct medical treatment.
Sue then explained that after she collapsed at home several medics asked her if she had been taking cocaine; that her doctor didn’t test her for some days and by then the test result was negative for CO. She was poisoned for several years from 2003-2006. She had had a new house so didn’t think to have her boiler serviced for a few years. When the warranty for her boiler ran out in 2006, she wanted British Gas to take it on under a service agreement. The RGE (Registered Gas Engineer) from British Gas inspected the boiler for this purpose and found that the flue had not been attached. I attach the case study.
This is exactly what happened when Zoe Anderson, daughter of Chris Anderson of TED talks, died of CO. The RGE had not attached the flue. We agreed that these were basic failures. We discussed how perhaps check lists that are used by pilots, and now in operating theatres, might prevent these basic mistakes but perhaps even better so could testing using a flue gas analyser as a check at the end of an installation.
You asked me who my contact was in HSE and it is Jill Wakefield. I commented that HSE has not seemed very interested in gas, perhaps due to lack of funds.
I submitted that we thought the gas emergency service was the best body to test gas appliances for CO because they were on the spot and were somewhat apart from selling gas or installing and maintaining gas appliances, so likely to be more impartial.
I mentioned that Ofgem had recently told me that if HSE required the gas emergency service to test gas appliances for CO that Ofgem would find the funding for the GDNs to do this.
We then discussed how survivors could at the moment obtain an investigation and the PPM of CO they were probably exposed to. I explained that survivors could only do this with huge difficulty. The first problem for a survivor was knowing that they’d been poisoned by CO because many people don’t even know CO exists. Then, even if they suspect they’ve been poisoned by CO, obtaining a blood or breath test is difficult and due to time elapsing, usually produces a negative result which is often dangerously false. I also explained that when a survivor obtains a service of his or her gas appliances, (which is what survivors are encouraged to do by the gas emergency service), the service understandably destroys any evidence of CO.
Survivors can obtain the services of a RGE who is qualified under CMDDA1 but it is extremely difficult to find firstly a firm that offers ‘fumes investigation’ and secondly an individual RGE with the CMDDA1 qualification. Please visit https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/ Also most survivors don’t know this – why should they? Many people in the gas industry don’t even know this.
Usually the only thing a survivor can do, if they know it’s needed, is to pay at least £3,000 for an independent court expert witness to investigate and test for CO. Most people can’t afford to do this. Therefore the number of proved CO cases are very, very few. Doctors then think CO is rare. However, please see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/numbers-affected-by-co/ where we’ve tried to extrapolate from the small studies which are very worrying. We were delighted that a large study of 75,000 homes was apparently funded by the Gas Safety Trust in 2015 but that this never happened due apparently to cut backs suffered by the Fire Service.
I have attached our ‘comic’ strip, pages 1 & 2 to try to explain in simple terms how difficult it is for survivors. Please also see my article in the New Law Journal 2020 attached showing the ‘Catch 22’ (i.e. to prove CO; you have to prove CO’) nature of proving exposure to CO where a legal claim may be necessary, due for example, to severe injury caused by negligence.
We also discussed Dave Bendle’s article which I’ve attached and happened to be opposite to yours in the Dec/Jan Gi Magazine. His is about the Unsafe Procedures, Procedure and my point was that the lack of testing gas appliances for CO is not mentioned – indeed only the products of combustion are mentioned. When there are perfectly good flue gas analysers that can be used to test gas appliances for CO, this really does seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room. This is particularly relevant when symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including Covid. We know Dave reasonably well and really like him but in our opinion, the system needs leadership from the professional body.
I also told you that if work has been done on a gas appliance within the last 6 months, the Gas Safe Register will send an inspector who will usually try to persuade the survivor to accept the RGE who may have done the poor work in the first place. However, the inspector will test the gas appliance for CO, but if the survivor is a tenant, the inspector will only do this with the permission of the landlord. Please see attached policy of the GSR 8.2 and 8.5.
This is the policy of the Gas Safe Register so we cannot see that it applies to individual RGEs. However, RGEs seem to assume that it does and we’ve had problems trying to obtain the services of RGEs with CMDDA1 to test the gas appliances of tenants, even though we have offered to pay before they even visit. In other words it’s not that the RGEs with CMDDA1 are concerned about payment from a tenant, it’s that they think they are bound by the policy of the GSR. This feels medieval. We have written to the GSR for many years about this and tried to persuade them to change this policy.
We discussed the training course for RGEs. I told you about Roland Johns, a retired British Gas investigator and trainer who put together a course for RGEs to inform them about the dangers of CO from fuels other than gas. I attach the latest version of his course. The easiest way for you to read about this is to visit our website at https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/information/gas-installers/ We would be grateful if you could read these pages. CO-Gas Safety and Roland Johns won the 2017 H & V News Safety award for this course (please see picture below this email). However, sadly this course was not incorporated into the ACS course, although colleges were told they could use the examples and case studies used in it. Roland is sadly and understandably disillusioned that all his hard work seems to have just faded away. I am copying him into this email and I am sure he would love his experience and expertise to help improve training for RGEs.
We went on to discuss the HSE and the success we had in 2000 in obtaining the recommendations made by HSC/E. We made a presentation in January 2000 to HSE officials and we considered this had quite an impact and resulted in these recommendations made in August 2000. However, they have not been implemented; I have heard that the HSE assumed that they would be adopted voluntarily. I attach the yellow booklet (but will send it separately as it’s 4 MB). This booklet contains accounts by survivors and others made in January 2000 and in our opinion it was the survivors who engaged the emotions of the officials to make these recommendations. I suggest it’s too long to print out but please read it particularly from Section 5. However the earlier parts are about Molly Maher’s tragedy and this is the inspiration for all our work.
We moved on to discuss the landlord’s gas safety check. Please could possibly you read my article in the New Law Journal 2018 about this? Everyone seems to agree that it would be far better for the landlord’s gas safety check to require either a test of the emissions from the gas appliance for CO or a service or ideally both. However this requires a legislative tidy up.
The last thing I raised was the issue of Public Liability Insurance. I explained that when CORGI registered gas engineers, CORGI was in effect, just a club and therefore could make PLI a condition of membership. However, the GSR can’t require PLI as it has by law to register gas engineers who have the relevant qualifications and pay the fee. Therefore, although most RGEs thankfully have PLI there may be a few one man bands who don’t have PLI. If one of these RGEs negligently exposed someone to CO which resulted in the survivor needing, for example, 24 hour care, then this would be bad for both sides. Therefore again, this is an issue needing a legislative tidy up.
Lastly you discussed the CO conference next year and I did make the point that we’d never been allowed to speak at an IGEM CO conference although I am an IGEM member. You very kindly said that ‘that was the past, we’ll look to the future’ or words to that effect. I attach a brief CV. If I did speak I would like some survivors to tell their stories as they have informed us of all the issues we raise.
Thank you so much for saying that the aim is gas safety. We really do appreciate that very much indeed.’
825. 13.01.21 Stephanie asked Jill Wakefield of HSE if Stephanie could give a presentation at the next cross-party meeting and also attend. The response was that the group was only for department heads so she could not. Stephanie responded with the fact that she had given a PPP on 2009 at this group. Stephanie found the PPP and sent it.
824. Stephanie received an email from Jennifer Plews head of PR at British Gas. Although this was a pleasant email Stephanie did not think this was a proper response to her email to Matthew Bateman CEO and did not think Mr Bateman was taking the charity’s concerns seriously. We think that Mr Bateman should be dealing with this serious issue about safety and policy himself rather than delegating it to PR, however capable his head of PR is.
823. 13.01.21 Contacted by a couple who had bought a BBQ hut and were poisoned by it – over 250 PPM of CO according to a digital CO alarm. First case of 2021. Wrote and then talked to them and recommended Slater Gordon and an investigator.
822. Related with a film maker re Molly Maher over the possibility of a film about her.
821. Worked on updating ‘List of work done’ – ‘what we’ve done so far’. Also helped a friend who is having problems with having her gas maintenance contract fulfilled adequately.
820. 18.12.20 Stephanie signed the accounts and sent them to the accountant who filed them.
819. 14.12.20 Stephanie and Sue Westwood had a zoom meeting with Neil Atkinson, the CEO of IGEM. The main purpose of this was to discuss the fact that the gas emergency service did not test gas appliances for CO, and it was almost impossible for an ordinary survivor to obtain such a test of gas appliances. We also discussed the training of Registered Gas Engineers. Stephanie asked Roland Johns to contact Neil about our course on CO for RGEs and he did so.
818. 08.12.20 & 09.12.20 Stephanie attended some of the GDN (Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service) conference.
817. 07.12.20 Stephanie had a telephone conversation with Adrian McConnell of the Gas Safety Trust to talk about the fact that the research into 75,000 homes promised as funded in 2015 has not been completed and to discuss if CO-Gas Safety has any survivors who’ve got proved CO within the last two years who would be willing to help with research. Stephanie said she would think about this but couldn’t be sure. In any case there needed to be proof of CO exposure to be eligible which is the problem of course!
816. 07.12.20 Trotter followed up with an email to Nigel Winnan of Wales & West Utilities about funding and support for changing the landlord’s gas safety check see 18.03.20 below.
815. 03.12.20 Rebecca Scarlett had a zoom call with Robert McLaren of Policy Connect about Ofgem.
814. 01.12.20 Zoom call with Rob Lyon of Playfair marketing about a CO-Gas Safety awareness campaign.
813. 25.11.20 Stephanie had a Zoom call with Chris Anderson of TED Talks – Ideas worth spreading. It was so good to meet him at last albeit virtually. Stephanie would have travelled to London to see him and met him in a park as he suggested but it was too soon after her husband John had his burst appendix with gangrene removed on the 18th November so it had to be virtual.
812. 23.11.20 Sue Westwood gave a BBC Radio Manchester interview.
811. 21.10.20 ITV interview by Sue Westwood, trustee & director countrywide about her experience of CO.
810. 20.11.20 Deadline for submission to the inquiry into the All Party Groups but this is extended until 04.12.20.
809. 17.11.20 Stephanie attended IGEM’s virtual conference. It seems that gas will be around in homes for many years and possibly decades to come. However, the outlook for hydrogen is very hopeful.
808. 17.11.20 Stephanie received an email from Jill Wakefield of HSE that the next meeting of the cross departmental committee would be in April 2021.
807. 14.11.20 Stephanie chased the HSE for the date of the next cross departmental committee meeting. Made the point that due to CO having similar symptoms to those of Covid-19 this was a vital topic.
806. 14.11.20 Stephanie puts interesting blog on news part of website.
‘Fail! Survey finds shocking number of unsafe gas boilers in the UK including the private rented sector.’ https://centralhousinggroup.com/fail-survey-finds-shocking-number-of-unsafe-gas-boilers-in-uk-including-within-prs/
On fifth of those questioned didn’t know that an annual service was recommended.
805. 10.11.20 Stephanie attended an NGN (Northern Gas Networks) stakeholder event and as a result sent an email to Richard Hynes-Cooper of NGN, Eileen Brown and David Turner-Bennett of UK EIC. Amongst other things Stephanie asked if NGN, and ideally all the GDNs, could ask to see HSE and ideally the Minister for HSE, Mims Davies MP, to ask for the recommendations made by HSC/E in 2000 to be implemented. Also Stephanie asked if she could give a talk about CO if that is possible. Someone mentioned today that most people at the meeting knew about CO and it was members of the public that need to be made aware. This is very true. However, we also find that even those within the fuel industry who know about CO, do not fully understand the picture from the survivors’ point of view. Therefore, they do not fully appreciate how to prevent poisoning in the first place. For example, raising awareness of servicing was mentioned but not everyone, especially at the moment, can afford to have their gas appliances serviced which I think was discussed. In our experience, survivors or family members nearly all want others to avoid what happened to them. We talked to them and they all came up with very good ideas and that’s how we came up with the ideas behind the recommendations made by HSE.
804. 05.11.20 Stephanie had a chat with Paul Hewson (who has helped us before through the Royal Statistical Society) about our data and numbers affected and whether he could get hold of the John Moore’s research done 2011-12.
803. 04.11.20 Stephanie talked to Jonathan Kane about an awareness campaign.
802. 02.11.20 SGN zoom call.
Attended by Jonathan Kane, Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter (PO and ST attended late as couldn’t get onto zoom).
Grant Taylor updated the group:
230,000 calls & 50,000 repairs per year
20,000 connections a year – 5,000 fuel poor
1,000km mains gas replaced per year
2,000 contractors & 3,500 staff
11% call outs CO / fume related – 18,879 of 176,843 – Sept – Mar peaks
Ryan Smith presented upgrade to their gasco-seeker, funded by Ofgem’s development fund
SNG plan to use CO test equipment from March 21 .. FCOs roll out within 3 years ..
SGN will consider using BS7967 as part of the training update.
However, need to determine if /when SGN will re-light appliances for a sweep test
Query – will survivors get access to PPM readings?
Problem is that readings only taken after appliances turned off and windows open and First Call Operator from the gas emergency service actually arrives.
801. 02.11.20. Stephanie received cross-departmental committee report 2018-19 after asking for this. Asked Jill Wakefield of the HSE when the next meeting would be.
800. 22.10.20 Stephanie had a virtual meeting with Mathew Willis, Nat’s replacement and discussed ideas for CO Awareness week. Rebecca attended and was very helpful.
799. 16.10.20 Stephanie attended a virtual NGN (Northern Gas Networks) meeting organised by Ofgem.
798. 14.10.20 Stephanie wrote to Matthew Bateman in response to his letter dated 20.08.20.
797. 13.10.20 Stephanie attended a virtual Grid meeting and also a Cadent meeting organised by Ofgem.
796. 13.10.20 Stephanie had a conversation with Amaka of the Royal Statistical Society about Paul Hewson reviewing our data again and other issues.
795. 08.10.20 Stephanie had a zoom meeting with Phil Cleaver and Lawson Wight of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.
794. 06.10.20 Stephanie wrote to Ian McCluskey head of policy at IGEM about the fact that at the stakeholder zoom meeting, on 01.10.20, he referred to a meeting about RIDDOR, what is and what is not RIDDOR reportable, that he was going to attend on the following day.
793. 03.10.20 Stephanie wrote again to Sani of PHE about the algorithm and need for a test of gas appliances due to Covid-19 and sent the Ms Reid case.
792. 01.10.20 Stephanie had a chat with Kerry Potter of SGN and sent her the summary of her submission to Ofgem.
791. 01.10.20 APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) meeting on zoom.
Stephanie’s item was last on the agenda again although this mattered less for the stakeholder group.
‘What I said at the meeting about testing gas appliances for CO by the gas emergency service.
I hope all of you know that CO-Gas Safety is an independent, registered charity representing survivors/victims of CO and their families.
We seem to be the only body that provides specific help & advice to survivors/victims – done since 1995.
We are advocating for testing for CO by the gas emergency service particularly with regard to Ofgem’s funding under RIO 2 & 20 years since the HSC/E’s recommendations.
I remind you:-
CO is a deadly gas that can be emitted from any faulty appliance powered by any carbon based fuel etc.
CO cannot be sensed using human senses.
Less than 2% of CO in the air can kill or maim in one to three minutes.
Testing a person exposed is unreliable because by the time blood or breath is tested, the CO will usually have disappeared.
When someone calls the gas emergency service, they are sensibly told to turn everything off, open the windows and get out. By the time, the FCO arrives with a PAM for CO, the CO will usually have disappeared.
Symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including ‘flu or Covid-19.
So, testing the gas appliance after it’s relit is surely the only reliable way to ensure that a person receives the correct medical treatment – correct diagnosis also helps NHS.
Doctors think CO is rare but do react to PPM of CO in writing or could be supplied digitally.
In 2000 HSC/E recommended levy for publicity & research and that gas emergency service carry equipment & test gas appliances for CO.
It was hoped these would be implemented voluntarily.
Symptoms of CO similar to those of any virus including ‘flu & Covid-19.
How can GDNs morally justify not testing for CO?
You will have seen our one minute film of Sue Westwood, whose medics thought she had taken cocaine rather than been poisoned by CO. Is Rebecca here? She found the doctors unsympathetic and her FCO’s PAM had alarmed but she had nothing in writing.
What do the other stakeholders think?’
GDNs are the Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service.
There seemed little reaction to the fact that survivors are not able to even tell their medics the amount of CO they have been exposed to.
Rebecca Scarlett also joined and made a very valuable contribution by telling the group about her experience of being exposed to CO and how the medics had reacted. She followed this up with a letter to Nat and asked him to send this to all members of the stakeholder group.
790. 25.09.20 Nathaniel Shaughnessy sent Stephanie an email and a briefing note we had agreed plus an email to Barry Sheerman and Baroness Finlay. Sadly Nat left shortly after this.
‘Dear Barry and Ilora,
Please see attached a briefing note for the recommendations presented by CO-Gas Safety at the 10th September 2020 APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) Advisory Board meeting.
CO-Gas Safety had intended for these proposals to be presented verbally to the board, but due to other commitments all Parliamentary officers had dropped off the Zoom before Stephanie was called on to present, so it was agreed that we would condense the proposals into a one-page document for your consideration. Also attached (for reference) is the HSC recommendations referred to in the briefing note.
Please let me know if you are happy to take these recommendations forward, and if you would like any support from me in drafting any of the correspondence.
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:
- Meet relevant Ministers to call on industry & wealthy charities to take action before winter
- Table an immediate EDM to call on industry & wealthy charities to do the same
- Meet OfGEM & HSE to ask Gas Emergency Services to test appliances for CO
- Request immediate help from DoH for a coordinated educational programme for medics
- Facilitate funding for films for prime-time TV & other
789. 22.09.20 Conversation with Kerry Potter of SGN – good conversation and felt Kerry understood what consumers who have been exposed to CO need.
788. 21.09.20 Stephanie responded to Nathaniel Shaughnessy’s correspondence, received the same day.
‘Thank you Nat. Your swift answer is most helpful.
It had never crossed my mind that the UIOLI (Use It Or Lose It) allowance could be to supersede base consumer vulnerability allowances and innovation funding. Therefore we are thankful that the GDNs raised this and that APPCOG is seeking clarification. However, I think (and fervently hope) this is extremely unlikely from what Jonathan Brearley said at the APPCOG meeting at which he spoke last year.
So unless you inform us otherwise, we assume that APPCOG did not submit anything to Ofgem with regard to treating the £30 million for vulnerable consumers plus millions more for innovation, as being a golden opportunity for:-
1. Prevention with regard to paying for raising public and medical awareness of the dangers of CO, particularly because the symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including Covid-19 and
2. Paying for the training of the First Call Operators and supplying them with equipment to test gas appliances for CO and where CO found, to provide those exposed with PPM of CO, either in writing/digitally for them and for their medics.
I attach the nutshell of the recommendations made by HSC/E in 2000 as a reminder but I’ve already sent you these plus copies of the originals and a copy of the first page of the HSC’s proposals. Please do let me know if you need them again.
I attach, I think again, our ‘Comic’ Strip showing the heart breaking consequences of this lack of proof for survivors. I also attach our article published in the New Law Journal showing the ‘Catch 22’ nature of this lack of proof.
You said that APPCOG activity is not complete. Therefore, would APPCOG please discuss these issues now?
These huge difficulties for survivors, victims and their families, the fact that symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus including Covid-19 and this opportunity presented by Ofgem, was why we needed to make a presentation to the Board of APPCOG. However, we are delighted to hear that it’s not too late for APPCOG to take this up with Ofgem on behalf of survivors/victims and consumers as well as the UK taxpayer, who at the moment, bears the brunt of the cost of poisonings, (£178 million for the known deaths and injuries https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmcomloc/50/50iii132.htm) second only to the survivors and victims.
How about a zoom meeting with members of the board, as soon as possible, to discuss these issues and opportunities?
Thank you again.’
787. 21.09.20 Response from Nathaniel Shaughnessy, manager of Policy Connect, for APPCOG (the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group).
This was sent from Barry to OfGEM on the 3rd September and was mentioned in the most recent newsletter sent on the 9th September.
This was developed in consultation with our GDN members exclusively, as they were those affected by the RIIO-2 draft determinations, and so had approached us previously to discuss concerns around the removal of base funding.
I’m not sure that I can share this, as this contains some sensitive information shared with us by GDNs around their business plans, so I’d have to gain their permission.
However, I can let you know that the key points we asked OfGEM for were:
- Clarity on how the UIOLI allowance would be governed, and if we could request a meeting with OfGEM, the GDNs and our co-chairs to discuss this in further detail.
- Reassurance that the UIOLI allowance would be used to complement, rather than supersede innovation funding and base consumer vulnerability allowances, given this was creating uncertainty around the viability of current consumer vulnerability projects going into 2021.
GDNs are Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service
As I mentioned, we have requested to speak with OfGEM in greater detail around these proposals, so our activity around this is not yet complete, and will be sharing any outcomes and responses received as appropriate in future comms to all stakeholders.’
786. 21.09.20 Sent an email to Nathaniel Shaughnessy, manager of Policy Connect, for APPCOG (the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group).
Thank you very much for your email informing us that APPCOG did make a submission to Ofgem.
I didn’t notice anything about this in the newsletters etc. but I must have missed this so could you please tell us in what newsletter or other communication this was mentioned and when?
Could you also please tell us when this submission was made?
Were all the stakeholders asked to contribute?
Could we please see this submission?
Thank you very much.’ As far as we know we haven’t received a response.
785. 22.09.20 Stephanie wrote to Adrian McConnell of the GST re their meeting by zoom on 16th September – an extract is as follows:-
‘I am glad to hear you are trying to persuade the GDNs to get together and release anonymised data.
We’d be really pleased just to know:-
- How many call outs for the gas emergency service in the UK altogether.
- What proportion are to homes, to workplaces and ‘other’, such as leaks of unburned gas in the road.
- What proportion involve escapes of unburned gas only.
- What proportion involve suspected CO.
- What proportion involve call outs as a result of CO alarms.
- What proportion involve CO picked up by the FCO’s equipment.
- What proportion involve more than one visit to the same property within 24 hours.
I agree that there should be an independent body to receive data. Certainly, when the GST launched its portal at the Science museum in January 2015, it seemed to have been assumed by the GST that it would be the recipient. At the time I didn’t really consider the GST would be suitable but I’m glad to hear that some trustees are now being appointed from outside the gas industry.
A useful model would be the Advertising Standards Authority which could at least make the funding more straightforward and less directly influenced by business.
I appreciate that you are right about the HSE’s incidents and data lacking segmentation.
I’m glad that the Fire and Rescue Service is being helpful.
I’m also glad that Baroness Finlay is still interested and feel for her that she is frustrated although so are we! We would really appreciate having her ‘case study’ as we are now putting our case studies under a new heading on our website. Please see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/case-studies/
It was good to hear that Roland Wessling has got married and moved on, for his sake, although sad for the CO cause.
I’m glad that the GST is looking to fund research and would consider an application for funding. I appreciate that any application by the GDNs would not be looked on favourably as they are commercial entities but wondered if an application by CO-Gas Safety to undertake trials might be more favourably viewed or perhaps at least a part of a trial; perhaps the part about helping survivors of a possible exposure to CO?
We are very grateful for the letter of support from the GST with regard to Ofgem. I asked you whether the GST would be writing to Ofgem itself to urge Ofgem to persuade the gas emergency service to test gas appliances for CO. You suggested I write to Chris Bielby and copy you in. Thank you for this suggestion and I will do so.
We discussed Hilary Wareing and the issue of pregnant women whose blood/breath was checked for CO but is no longer, due to Covid-19. We ask how these cases were dealt with? I was at a presentation when Hilary spoke about one case and she had found an investigator to find where the CO was coming from and how much CO, which is brilliant. However, we still find this virtually impossible for normal people. You kindly said you would pass on our details to Hilary and ask her to contact us.’ Etc.
GDNs are Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service
784. 18.09.20 Stephanie was contacted by Maureen McIntosh and Kerry Potter of SGN to arrange a date and time for a chat. Stephanie sent various documents and materials including the ‘Comic’ Strip showing the consequence to a survivor who is exposed to CO being unable to prove this even to their medics and family. In the end the conversation took place on the 22.09.20 with a zoom meeting with SGN on the 2nd November.
783. 18.09.20 Stephanie wrote to Baroness Finlay, Barry Sheerman and all members and officers of APPCOG, (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group),
‘Dear Ilora and Barry and all members and officers of APPCOG,
I am writing because we wish to draw your attention to matters we think extremely important to survivors and victims of carbon monoxide exposure.
I am copying Jonathan Shaw and Nat to ensure all APPCOG members receive this email and its attachments.
As Barry knows, we arranged to make a presentation to the APPCOG board on 10th September but, when our turn came, no board member was present.
I attach our PPP but you will appreciate this is not the same as hearing it directly from us; I had also hoped for questions and exchanges, (indeed about 20 minutes was allocated to questions and discussion) and the lack of both was very disappointing.
We sent our written concerns to Jonathan Shaw, Policy Connect CEO, who helpfully assured us our views will be heard by you.
However, we need to show survivors and victims of carbon monoxide exposure and other gas dangers that we are being heard directly by you and your members.
If asked, we will gladly share with APPCOG members our submission to Ofgem with its powerful supporting documents. We request support from APPCOG and action for raised awareness for prevention and testing for CO.
We have always maintained the recommendations made by HSC/E in 2000 should be implemented. I attach a nutshell and have sent Nat Shaughnessy, Policy Connect manager, extracts from the original document.
In particular, we support and ask you to support two specific recommendations:
- A levy on the gas suppliers (but we would prefer the fuel industry) to fund research and awareness.
- Automatic appliance testing by the gas emergency service.
Whilst we are not concerned about the source of funding for testing and awareness, we are concerned to ensure testing is free to the person who needs it.
CO-Gas Safety seems to be the only body offering specific help to people who suspect exposure to CO. Our independent, registered charity has done this since 1995 and is run almost entirely by volunteers.
We maintain it is a basic requirement for all conditions and poisons such as HIV, pesticides, cabin air quality, etc, that there be public awareness of their dangers, so they can be avoided by consumers and, where exposure is suspected, testing to ensure survivors identify the source of the poisoning, how badly they have been affected and their medics and families know how to treat them.
Those suffering from life changing injuries tell us not being believed by medics or families, due to lack of proof, is far worse than their injuries.
I attach our ‘comic’ strip pages 1 and 2 to illustrate the huge problems survivors have after poisoning when they lack this proof which is almost invariably the case.
I also attach our recent article in the New Law Journal explaining the ‘Catch 22’ situation of having to prove CO, supported by a solicitor practising in this area.
Testing also raises awareness for media stories, which can report high levels of CO in parts per million a family was exposed to, making the story more powerful and thereby encourage people to prevent their own exposure.
We further ask if CO is found, parts per million of CO found is given in writing or digitally to the exposed person to help them decide their next steps. From our experience helping survivors and victims since 1995, most only want the right medical treatment, sympathy and understanding from employers, friends and family and action to prevent it happening to anyone else.
One reason we insist you receive our views on behalf of survivors and victims is because CO symptoms are similar to any virus including Covid-19. We believe this pandemic re-emphasises why air and individual gas appliances in homes should be tested for CO.
Ofgem is making £30 million available to GDNs who run the gas emergency service and further funds for innovative projects. We understand APPCOG has not yet made submission to Ofgem about how they plan to allocate their discretionary funds.
Testing gas appliances for CO should not be considered innovative but, since it’s not done by the GDNs, it is. We request APPCOG raise this issue with Ofgem.
On this issue, neither HSE nor Ofgem have communicated as they should under their Memorandum of Understanding (Mou attached). We ask APPCOG to raise with HSE and Ofgem how they will address this.
We believe Ofgem’s funding opportunity makes it easier for APPCOG to press these points home and ensure action is taken.
We would be happy to help in any way and look forward to hearing from you.
1. Directors and other interested parties.’
GDNs are the Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service
782. 18.09.20 Stephanie wrote in response to a letter from Jonathan Shaw, re APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group)
Thank you very much indeed for your swift response to my letter dated the 14th September.
It was disappointing no MP heard our presentation to the APPCOG board and thank you for your apology. We realise their presence is not under your control.
We are glad you are prioritising requests for meetings with Ofgem and HSE and writing to DoH regarding communications to the public and medical professionals before winter. Thank you for putting forward our suggestions.
We are glad you accept there may be a case for an additional levy on gas suppliers to raise awareness. CO-Gas Safety’s issue is not where funding comes from but that there is funding available to raise awareness of the dangers of CO and reduce avoidable future exposure, injury and death.
For us, the vital matter today is the Ofgem £30 million “use it or lose it” fund for the GDNs together with further millions available in the innovation fund. We are surprised APPCOG has not already lobbied Ofgem but could do so now. Our view is that CO-Gas Safety’s submission to Ofgem with powerful supporting documentation would help APPCOG’s ability to achieve progressive dialogue with Ofgem.
You say APPCOG is trying to get CO poisoning messages into Covid-19 messaging because symptoms are similar. Doesn’t this emphasise the urgent need to test air or emissions from gas appliances for CO in homes?
We were surprised to find after FOI requests Ofgem & HSE have not communicated as they are supposed to do under their Mou (Memorandum of Understanding). I attach relevant correspondence and Mou.
We note the stated limitations on what APPCOG can achieve without significant political will within Government to deliver recommendations but we thought an APPG’s point was to take action to create political will?
Thank you again for your help. We will also ask APPCOG Board members directly because, as I am sure you’ll understand, we must show our members, survivors and victims we represent we have done everything possible to use what opportunities do exist for a charity such as CO-Gas Safety.
We will copy you and Nat into this email to the APPCOG Board and ask you if you would be kind enough to ensure all the APPCOG members receive our email and any attachments. Thank you.’
GDNs are the Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service.
781. 17.09.20 Stephanie received an answer to her letter to Jonathan Shaw sent 14.09.20 with regard to the APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group).
Thank you for your letter dated 14 September regarding the 10th September APPCOG board meeting and the recommendations made by HSC in August 2000.
First, I am sorry that it turned out on the day that the Parliamentary members of the board all needed to drop off the Zoom meeting by the time it came to CO-Gas Safety’s agenda item. As you note in your letter, our MPs and peers are extremely time-pressured, and we encourage them to join meetings in-part when they cannot attend the full session. I understand this must have been incredibly frustrating, but I hope you appreciate that this is not something Policy Connect has control over, and that you will agree with the alternative steps suggested below in order to get the message in front of our Parliamentary members.
As I understand it, CO-Gas Safety seek to understand why two of the measures recommended by HSE in 2000 in the ‘Proposals for Change’ following the ‘Fundamental Review of Gas Safety’ were not implemented. These measures were:
- A levy on the gas suppliers to pay for raising awareness of the dangers of CO and for research
- That the gas emergency service carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for emissions of Carbon Monoxide (CO)
On (1) it is worth noting that OfGEM provides a certain amount of base funding to the Gas Distribution Networks in order to fund consumer vulnerability initiatives, including CO Safety. This has funded many fantastic initiatives supported by the APPCOG over the last decade, such as the ‘Safety Seymour’ educational programme and the provision of free CO alarms and gas safety checks to vulnerable customers. For the new price control period (2021-26), the current Draft Determinations cite the creation of a new £30m ‘Use It or Lose It’ allowance to fund consumer vulnerability, split between the GDNs. However, I understand that this only applies to the distribution networks, and not the energy suppliers, and there may be a case for an additional, separate levy. Additionally, APPCOG has also made recommendations in the past to the DoH that there should be an annual CO Awareness campaign, but this suggestion has not been taken up by the government. As you may have realised from the board meeting, APPCOG are trying to get messages about CO poisoning into Covid-19 messaging, as the government will undoubtedly want to keep the focus of public attention on Covid-19 and winter flu.
In your presentation you put forward the following suggestions:
- Meet relevant Ministers to call on industry & wealthy charities to take action before winter
- Table an immediate EDM to call on industry & wealthy charities to do the same
- Meet Ofgem & HSE to ask Gas Emergency Services to test appliances for CO
- Request immediate help from DoH for a coordinated educational programme for medics
- Facilitate films for prime time TV & other media. Our 1 minute film might help as might Stacey’s good film – needs funding.
We are happy to put all of these suggestions forward. I would recommend at the outset we prioritise requesting meetings with OfGEM and HSE regarding gas emergency service testing, and writing to the Department of Health regarding communications to the public and medical professionals in advance of Winter (something we are already in the process of doing), as this is most likely to yield a positive response and will permit discussion of other suggestions during these meetings.
Our Policy Manager for CO Safety, Nathaniel Shaughnessy, is currently drafting a short summary of CO Gas Safety’s recommendations to be distributed to our Parliamentary officers. With their agreement and approval, we will then happily follow-up as above. We will discuss internally the most appropriate channels for doing so that are likely to secure a positive response, and keep you updated on any action taken and the responses we receive.
I hope you will be satisfied with this course of action, and appreciate the limitations on what the APPCOG is able to achieve without significant political will within the government itself to drive forward any recommendations we make.
Jonathan Shaw | Chief Executive
7-14 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4YR
780. 16.09.20 Stephanie and Jonathan Kane had a zoom meeting with Adrian McConnell of the Gas Safety Trust.
779. 16.09.20 Stephanie contacted Rebecca Close, (who used to and perhaps still works for PHE) one of the attendees to the stakeholder group, to discuss the algorithm for GPs that leaves them without anyone to test gas appliances for CO.
778. 16.09.20 Stephanie tried to contact Farrah Lorrel who had gone to sleep with a perfumed candle alight in her bedroom and had woken up poisoned by CO and with soot in her nose.
777. 16.09.20 Stephanie concerned about high levels of CO2 rather than CO in one survivor’s datalogger and another survivor’s expert report.
776. 16.09.20 Stephanie was contacted by someone concerned that their CO alarm alarmed after the use of some perfume sticks, which are and were not lit.
775. 15.09.20 Stephanie contacted a gas expert court witness to ask him to visit another survivor and has done several times over the past months.
774. 15.09.20 Stephanie sent a response to Nat Shaughnessy, manager of Policy Connect for APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group).
‘Thank you very much for your email.
Any action would be good news from our point of view.
I have noted your suggestion to mitigate our submission on this important topic.
You have highlighted two factors which could be said are appropriate to begin with.
However, what we ask for is surely up to us?
Equally, what the board of APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group), decides to do, if anything, is surely for them? In fact, I suggest that if there is any dilution of our proposals, then the board of the APPCOG should decide and provide justifications for their decisions.
On other points, I think you’ll find the Minister for the HSE is Mims Davies https://www.gov.uk/government/people/mims-davies. Do please tell me if I’ve got this wrong as it never seems very easy finding the Minister responsible for health and safety.
In the past, the various officials have maintained that it’s no longer necessary to implement the two recommendations due to the reduced deaths (which I do hope are true) and the creation of the Gas Safe Register (GSR).
However, nobody knows how many people die from CO because as Baroness Finlay well knows, dead bodies are not tested automatically for CO.
Also nobody knows how many people are exposed to high levels of CO, due to the late medical testing and lack of testing air in homes etc. and emissions from appliances which surely everyone including APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) accepts?
Therefore we simply don’t understand why APPCOG would not be doing everything it can to increase awareness of the dangers of CO, bring in the testing dead bodies for CO, testing survivors and the air in homes etc. and emissions of appliances for CO.
These are basics recognised in many different scientific & industrial fields, for example Covid-19, HIV, water supply, farming with chemicals, cabin air quality etc.
Then there is the issue of the Precautionary Principle, which I would suggest is highly relevant to the issues surrounding CO. The Precautionary Principle is vital in the considerations of those who advocate for change, along with scientific, industry and political stakeholders. In my opinion, the debate on CO lacks a coherent strategy on CO and the Precautionary Principle.
The GSR is a lot more efficient with regard to keeping the register and it’s now clearer that this is their main function, whereas CORGI had too many functions and conflicts of interest.
GSR does do some good work on raising awareness of CO, but it seems to us that this is largely about awareness of the need to use a RGE and other dangers such as BBQs.
Otherwise, it seems to us that the GSR makes little or no difference.
Please study the attached Gas Safe Register policy, so discriminatory to survivors and particularly tenants and also my article published in the New Law Journal, showing that the system ensures that it’s Catch 22 – to prove CO, you have to prove CO – also backed up by a solicitor practising in this area, which adds evidence to my observations and CO-Gas Safety’s concerns.
Of course, as the members of APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) largely hear from people like the GSR and from business, they are bound to assume everything is fine.
Many survivors agreed with CO-Gas Safety about what should be done (e.g. CO+SAVi), but unlike CO-Gas Safety, APPCOG appears to have given up hope of succeeding in promoting the fundamentals and recommendations required to improve safety.
There is a distinct sense amongst members of CO-Gas Safety and from members of the public who support us, that our message is not even heard, let alone have our reasons/ideas discussed seriously by political influencers or members of government.
It is important to remember that symptoms of CO, are similar to those of any virus including Covid-19, so although we think this lack of testing by the gas emergency service for a gas, deadly/maiming in tiny amounts that cannot be sensed by human senses, has always been wrong, we find the lack of testing at the moment to be acutely wrong.
With Ofgem making money available from April 2021, it seems inexplicable to us that APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) is apparently not publicly calling for these millions to be spent to improve safety in the way HSC/E recommended in 2000, after an exhaustive gas safety review and with the support of the majority of the stakeholders, who were mainly industry.
2020 should not go down as the year when CO Safety was simply mitigated.
In this new political environment, we have the opportunity to create something that is truly world-beating, whilst providing real benefit to domestic properties. The question is this: ‘Will APPCOG redefine itself for this new era and have the vision to proactively drive political change, or will it simply be defined by continued small-scale initiatives?’
I look forward to hearing your views or that of the Board on how we can best resolve these important issues for consumers/survivors of poisoning by CO+.
As far as the document containing the recommendations that you needed, I attach a photocopy of the title page. This was a paper era.’
773. 14.09.20 Stephanie received an email from Nat Shaughnessy, who is the manager for Policy Connect for APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group), stating:-
‘I have passed this on and will get a response from Jonathan in due course. In the meantime, I’ll draft something to go to Barry and Ilora on your recommendations.
I’m wary that we’re more likely to be successful if there are just one or two, refined asks, so reviewing your presentation now and I would perhaps suggest the following:
- A letter to the Minister with oversight of HSE (they sit within DWP but can’t remember who it is at the moment) asking why the recommendations were never implemented
- Requesting a meeting with OfGEM and HSE to discuss the recommendations in advance of Winter’
772. 14.09.20 Stephanie sent a letter, headed ‘Stakeholder observations so APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) board hear an important presentation’ to Jonathan Shaw, the CEO of Policy Connect which provides the admin for APPCOG. This was to express disappointment at the fact that not one member of the board was present for our presentation.
She made the point that CO-Gas Safety is the only body that provides specific help to survivors therefore hears more real experiences than any other body in the stakeholder group.
The letter further pointed out that ‘it was the presentation by victims in January 2000 to HSE officials which, in our opinion, visibly moved those officials leading to recommendations made by HSC/E in August 2000:
- Levy on the gas suppliers to pay for raising awareness of the dangers and for research (we would prefer the whole industry, but the gas suppliers are easier to reach) and
- That the gas emergency service carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for emissions of carbon monoxide (CO). This second recommendation is particularly vital now during the Covid-19 pandemic.
That these recommendations came after an exhaustive gas safety review, supported by most stakeholders, mostly industry.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (CO-Gas Safety’s patron) described the gas emergency service having & using equipment to test gas appliances for CO as a ‘no brainer’.
Sadly, neither recommendation has been implemented but are still very needed.
We have tried to support industry moves to implement these recommendations voluntarily and note awareness of the dangers of CO has improved, although not to the extent we wish especially regarding other fuels than gas.
CO and Covid-19
Symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including Covid-19. We help many consumers who, due to illness, suspect exposure by carbon monoxide.
How can such people, particularly those exposed to CO for months or years, obtain proof of exposure without an automatic test of gas appliances by the gas emergency service?
We tried to highlight these issues at APPCOG’s stakeholder meeting on 9th June yet were put off to the next meeting.
We were then given permission to present to the APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) board meeting on 10th September, yet not one member was present.
We seek a resolution of this need to inform board members of the opinions of stakeholders most affected by CO, namely those exposed to CO and often left with life changing injuries.
Such survivors often tell us the fact neither their medics nor families believe they were poisoned, because of lack of proof testing air and appliances, is worse than the life changing injuries they continue to suffer.
I seek your help in resolving this lack of communication.’
771. 11.09.20 Stephanie sent an agenda item for discussion at the next APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) stakeholder meeting to Chris Bielby who chairs this.
‘CO-Gas Safety – AOB Item at the last stakeholder meeting – brought up but not discussed last time.
- Need for testing of the air in homes and/or gas appliances for CO.
- This would usually be after gas cut off but could also just be when CO is suspected e.g. after a CO alarm has sounded.
- If gas is initially cut off there will be a need for relighting and then testing for CO.
- This is now particularly urgent due to the fact that symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including Covid-19.
- CO-Gas Safety is asking that CO levels in homes be measured and recorded by First Call Operators on emergency call-outs and provided to survivors in writing or digitally.
- Please see illustrative case studies attached, one of Ms Reid. who was denied a Gas Engineer to repair her boiler due to fears she had COVID (after having had her gas cut off), and one of Ms Wing, who was not offered proper treatment upon arriving in A&E due to having no record of her level of exposure in the house.
- CO-Gas Safety maintains:
- This would be of huge value with future medical referrals and treatment.
- Further, this could help establish if there was CO and if so, ideally find out the source of the CO as well as how much CO, if any was being emitted by each appliance. This could also prevent possible continuous exposure to levels of CO that cause long-term injury by leaving a possibly brain damaged survivor, to sort out a service.
- This was recommended by HSC/E in 2000 after an extensive gas safety review and with the support of the majority of the stakeholders who were mainly industry.
- Funding by Ofgem could make this easy and profitable for GDNs.
- CO-Gas Safety asks if trials on this could begin as soon as possible and has suggested that from April onwards this could be funded through the RIIO-2 innovation allowance to support vulnerable consumers and/or the innovation projects.
- CO-Gas Safety welcomes input from stakeholders on this suggestion, and if/if not such an initiative is viable. Reasons for and against would be appreciated.
GDNs are the Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service.
770. 10.09.20 Stephanie attended the board meeting of APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group which was in fact only Barry Sheerman MP with the occasional presence of one other MP) and at the end was allowed to give her presentation.
But by then no member of the board was present so initially she said there wasn’t much point, but the stakeholders suggested she continued so she did.
However, this was a presentation to the stakeholder group not the board of APPCOG.
769. 10.09.20 Stephanie spent time getting ready for the presentation to the board of APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) and composing a PPP.
768. 09.09.20 Stephanie had an inquiry from Neuro Rehab Times about the difficulties suspected victims can face when obtaining proof of CO poisoning, and if anything is being done to improve this. She responded with a suggested date of 14.09.20 and our article in the NLJ and the ‘Comic’ Strip.
767. 09.09.20 Stephanie wrote to Tom Bell of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) about the innovation committee.
766. 08.09.20 Stephanie talked to Matt Cole of npower about some funding npower might be providing for us.
765. 07.09.20 Having got a dispensation from Ofgem, Stephanie sent the response to Ofgem before 9.00 a.m. We stated that the £30 million UIOLI allowance isn’t nearly enough and that any consumer exposed to CO is vulnerable. We also submitted a response to Ofgem’s reply that there was no justification for imposing testing on the gas emergency service.
We had over 8** letters of support including a really helpful piece by Dr Julie Connolly which we included in the submission*, plus other documents including survivors’ case studies showing how their medical treatment was affected by the lack of proof of CO.
We also submitted a ‘comic’ strip showing the consequences of lack of proof as well as a legal article published in the New Law Journal in January 2020 showing that CO was Catch 22; to prove CO you had to prove CO.
Therefore, due to the lack of proof there was little data, which perpetuated the vicious circle of lack of awareness, so lack of testing and lack of knowledge to prevent poisoning.
*most vital extract from the piece Dr Julie Connolly wrote was, ‘‘In interviewing the 11 participants I observed the added distress caused to the participants by the lack of proof of their situation, which could be provided in the form of ambient air testing, or testing suspected appliances for CO. I find the lack of testing for CO, to which so many people may be exposed while cooking meals and heating their homes is something which should be addressed as a matter of urgency. The lack of proof leads to an assumption that CO is rare, and this contributes to a lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding of this preventable danger.’
**List of letters of support etc.
- Dr Julie Connolly included in the body of our response.
- Gas Safety Trust, Chris Bielby.
- Matt Cole who has worked extensively in the gas industry. He has already sent his letter to Ofgem but we also include it.
- Jason Perrins of Fireblitz, manufacturer of CO alarms.
- Madelene Holdsworth, Senior Practice Director Industrial Disease, Military Law and Medical Negligence, Slater Gordon, solicitors.
- Emma-Jackson Phillips – daughter of a man who died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Frank Brehany – please note that he does not wish his contact details to be made public because he lacks the resources to deal with contacts from members of the public.
- Jim Kinnibrugh, chimney expert. He sent his letter direct.
- Jonathan Kane of Kane International – had sent this direct.
764. 03.09.20 Stephanie contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau re response to Ofgem’s RIIO-2 by email.
763. 03.09.20 Stephanie followed up an earlier email sent 24.05.20 to BBC’s Radio 4 ‘More or Less’ radio programme about symptoms of CO being similar to those of any virus including Covid-19.
762. Stephanie continued to work on the Ofgem response re RIIO-2 and letters of support justifying why it’s necessary for the gas emergency service to test gas appliances for CO.
761. 31.08.20 Stephanie wrote to the Alzheimer’s Association International thanking the Association for the toolkit and saying how pleased we were about the part on prevention. But that we are disappointed that indoor pollution was not mentioned – indoor pollution is much easier to control and is more concentrated so it’s vital to raise awareness of this. Brits spend over 90% of their time indoors, so it could really make a huge difference to prevention.
760. 24.08.20 Stephanie received a response from MD Matthew Bateman of British Gas to her questions at the shareholders’ meeting on the 12.08.20. Stephanie sent this on to Stacey Rodgers of the Dominic Rodgers Trust as it mentioned her and the trust. Stephanie was too busy at the time to write a full response but did so on 14.10.20, as she was not very happy with the response.
759. Stephanie continued to write to many people and organisations asking for letters of support for the submission to Ofgem including from Giovanni Leonardi of PHE. She particularly pointed out that symptoms of CO are similar to those of Covid-19, therefore to test air/gas appliances for CO would be very sensible.
758. 24.08.20 Stephanie wrote to Tom Bell of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) as chair of the GDN CO group asking for news about Jersey and Safety Seymour. Later Stephanie heard from Phil Burrows, who later took over Tom’s chairmanship of the GDNs’ (Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service) CO group, that it is planned that Jersey will be included. Stephanie wrote to Margaret Jeffrey, who lost her husband Ken to CO, to give her the good news.
757. 16.08.20 Stephanie wrote to Matt Cole of npower to seek some support re the Ofgem response. This was ultimately successful.
756. 15.08.20 Stephanie found someone to update and edit Sue Westwood’s film slightly to include the fact that symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus including Covid-19.
755. 14.08.20 Ofgem webinar attended by Stephanie.
Ofgem webinar 14.08.20
Stephanie Trotter, OBE [Aug 14 – 3:26PM]
Could Ofgem please consider the plight of consumers exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) who have no realistic access to a test of the air or the emissions from lit, working gas appliances? Tests of breath or blood are usually done too late so there is a huge danger of a false negative. Survivors need parts per million of CO in writing/text to take to medics to obtain correct medical treatment. All those exposed to CO are vulnerable. If CO is found this might encourage the public to move to new green energy. Stephanie CO-Gas Safety
Stephanie Trotter, OBE [Aug 14 – 3:29PM]
I am not an engineer or a scientist, so please excuse my ignorance. However, as a consumer and safety campaigner I want Ofgem’s assurance that research has been undertaken to make sure that plastic pipes are safe for hydrogen?
Answered – think it was said that HSE will approve or not.
Stephanie Trotter, OBE [Aug 14 – 3:42PM]
Previous question that has disappeared. Could Ofgem please consider the plight of consumers exposed to carbon monoxide (CO ) who have no realistic access to testing air in the house or emissions from it and working gas appliances. CO leaves blood and breath quickly and usually tests come back negative and are often false. If CO is found survivors need parts per million in writing/text for medics.
Forgot to mention that all consumers exposed to CO are vulnerable.
After I wrote this previous question appeared again.
Is Ofgem considering the fact that symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including Covid-19 yet the First Call Operators do not use equipment to test gas appliances for CO. FCOs do have Personal Alarm Monitors for CO but customer phoning 088 111999 are told to turn off and open windows so by the time the FCO arrives usually any CO will have disappeared.
754. 13.08.20 Stephanie sent the yellow booklet, comic strip and one minute film to APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) in the hope that the board will read and watch before the presentation on the 10th September.
753. Stephanie dealt with Newspaper Licence renewal.
752. 12.08.20 Stephanie submitted some questions to Centrica’s shareholder meetings.
753. Will Centrica/British Gas please pay for and raise more awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning? For example, by prime time TV warnings, featuring people who have suffered poisoning or loss of a loved one, also social media, famous people etc.
This is particularly relevant now as the symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to any virus, including Covid-19. We hope other fuel suppliers, manufacturers of appliances etc. would also contribute.
2. Can Centrica/BG please lobby Government and Ofgem for the gas emergency service to undertake tests of gas appliances for CO and where found, provide parts per million of CO in writing/digitally to those exposed? Please note that both 1. & 2. above were recommended by the Health & Safety Commission/Executive in 2000 but were not implemented by Government.
3. Can Centrica/BG please provide funding for some independent, funded victim support? A possibly brain damaged survivor is left to source a Registered Gas Engineer or do this through their landlord. Any RGE will inevitably destroy the evidence through servicing – Catch 22 see https://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/content/co-the-hidden-dangers BG did provide some funding for CO-Gas Safety many years ago, for which we are grateful, but understandably not nearly enough to pay for warnings and tests.
This is a very serious issue. Please see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/numbers-affected-by-co/ According to respected university research, millions of people could be being exposed to levels of CO way above the WHO guidelines in the UK alone.
Ideally this should be a free service, but even a reasonably priced paid for service, could be helpful. Now an expert investigation costs at least £3,000 to £10,000 or more.
If done, CO-Gas Safety happy to publicly support with PR.
Our data of deaths since 1995 shows, per user, gas safer re CO than other carbon fuels.
For more information contact Stephanie Trotter, OBE firstname.lastname@example.org
751. 12.08.20 Attended a virtual gas safe charity workshop by Bath and Main. It was very good and informative.
750. 10.08.20 Stephanie wrote to Richard Hynes-Cooper of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) with a proposal for the innovation project, namely:-
The proposal is to obtain the services of independent gas expert court witnesses/investigators and ask them to go in ideally immediately with the FCO or as soon as possible after the FCO has cut off the gas, turn the gas back on, relight and test the emissions from all/each of the gas appliances and the air in the dwelling space. In the pilot, this action would only be after the CO alarm alarmed fully and CO is suspected. Ideally, as a control group, the experts could also test appliances in homes where there was no CO alarm, alarming.
749. 06.08.20 Stephanie wrote to Peter Bottomley MP about the millions being provided by Ofgem to the Gas Distribution Networks. Wrote again on the 8th about flues because he had a query about these. Peter is on APPCOG.
748. Corresponded with various people to obtain support letters for submission to Ofgem.
747. During August Stephanie corresponded and talked to some survivors and lawyers on their behalf.
746. 03.08.20 Stephanie wrote to journalist Ben Stockton about his investigation into Covid-19 in Europe and asked if he’d be interested in CO since the symptoms were similar.
745. 02.08.20 Stephanie wrote to Judy at Real Sustainability (see https://realsustainability.org/) about the so-called eco gas suppliers. REAL Sustainability is founded by Safia Minney – a CIC that aims to support citizens and organisational leaders to transition to carbon zero and sustainability.
744. 31.07.20 Stephanie also wrote to the members of the Climate Change Committee:-
‘Dear Members of the Committee on Climate Change,
An article in Gas International Magazine states that your recommendation that, ‘UK households could soon see a total phase out of fossil-fuelled boilers by 2035’.
As an independent, registered charity that has worked since 1995 to prevent deaths and injuries from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, CO-Gas Safety would be delighted by such a phase out.
Please see attached our letter just sent to Gi magazine (see below at 744).
If any nudging is needed to persuade the public to abandon gas and solid fuel appliances, we urge you to support our campaign. This is to persuade Ofgem to use some of the £30 million it’s allowing the gas distribution networks (who operate the gas emergency service), to test air and ideally the emissions from gas powered appliances for carbon monoxide.
Based on respected university research, carbon monoxide levels well above the WHO guidelines are widespread in the UK indoors from appliances powered by fossil fuels and also wood. Brits spend over 90% of their time indoors.
If you think we could assist the committee, do please contact us.
743. 31.07.20 Stephanie wrote to the editor of Gi Magazine.
‘UK households could soon see a total phase-out of fossil-fuelled boilers by 2035’ is the headline from the Committee on Climate Change reported in August’s Gi magazine page 9.
As a charity which aims to prevent deaths and injuries from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and other gas dangers, CO-Gas Safety’s view is that green energy can’t come soon enough. The following ideas may accelerate that change.
There is confusion between CO and any virus including Covid-19. A recent example* occurred in March this year. Ms Reid, a Council tenant, apparently suffering pneumonia with a 5 year old child at home in freezing Dundee, was warned by her CO alarm that her boiler was faulty. Her gas was cut off but she had problems obtaining a Registered Gas Engineer to fix her central heating boiler, allegedly from fear of Covid-19. Her local newspaper stepped in to help and the Council then sent a RGE. A test for Covid-19 still isn’t very easy to obtain and takes time. All RGEs, including First Call Operators (FCOs) for the gas emergency service, must learn how to use an EN50379 approved Flue Gas Analyser. Therefore, why doesn’t the gas emergency service use these FGAs to perform the 2 minute sweep test in BS7967 used by RGEs testing for unsafe emissions of CO from appliances?
Although FCOs have Personal Alarm Monitors for CO, the person phoning the gas emergency number is told to turn everything off and open windows so any CO has usually disappeared by the time of the FCO’s arrival; but how can anyone be safe unless and until the source of any CO is found or ruled out?
Please note the HSE recommended all FCOs carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for CO in 2000, but this was never implemented.
Ofgem is offering £30 million funding to the Gas Distribution Networks (which run the gas emergency service) for such initiatives on a “use or lose” basis and the deadline for the consultation is the 4th September.
So surely this is the perfect moment for the GDNs (Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service) to agree to test for CO and for this to be funded by Ofgem? Then people and their medics would know if they are being exposed to CO and if so, how many parts per million they were exposed to thereby ensuring the correct medical treatment.
The number of cases where CO is found above the WHO guidelines of about 6 parts per million for 24 hours, would then surely speed the changeover to green energy?
Sadly, this letter was not published.
742. 31.07.20 Stephanie wrote again to the Listening Project (BBC Radio 4) about Colin the dog’s CO experience.
741. 31.07.20 Stephanie sent a draft to Dr Julie Connolly.
740. 28.07.20 Stephanie wrote a similar email to all the directors and Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.
739. 28.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Avril Samuel with a summary of what was going to be sent by CO-Gas Safety to Ofgem. Among other issues Stephanie mentioned that the need for testing gas appliances for CO seems obvious.
738. 25.07.20 Stephanie wrote again to Gemma Bailey of IGEM, asking to be a speaker in the forthcoming CO conference, whenever and however that was going to be held.
737. 25.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Tom Bell of Northern Gas Networks about the access to NGN’s business plan and asking if there was any news.
736. 22.07.20 Stephanie wrote to HSE under the FOI Act about whether HSE had consulted Ofgem about various things as it should under the MOU.
735. 22.07.20 Stephanie wrote to all the old members of CO+SAVI asking for contributions to Ofgem’s call for a response.
734. 20.07.20 Stephanie wrote again to Karen Dalziel of the BBC about CO and Covid-19 as an item for Woman’s Hour on Radio 4. She did kindly respond and said our idea would be considered.
733. 15.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Sani Dimitroulopoulou of PHE telling her about Ms Reid and the confusion between symptoms of CO and Covid-19, and asking her to write something to assist with our submission to Ofgem. Sadly, Stephanie didn’t receive a response.
732. 15.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Baroness Cumberlege, who had just published a report about women often not being believed by the medical profession. Stephanie pointed out that in the charity’s experience this seemed to happen a great deal re CO.
731. 14.07.20 Stephanie wrote to one of the survivors who had written a case study for us asking for more details.
730. 14.07.20 Stephanie wrote a letter to the Times, in response to an assertion that outdoor air pollution increases Covid-19 death risk and asking if there has been any research looking at increased risk from pollution indoors? Sadly, it wasn’t published.
729. 13.07.20 Stephanie started to prepare documents for Ofgem and to argue that there is justification for testing gas appliances for CO despite Ofgem’s response that there isn’t.
728. 12.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Dr Julie Connolly to ask her to write something in support of testing for CO survivors for Stephanie to submit to Ofgem. This did result in success and Stephanie included this in the CO-Gas Safety submission to Ofgem re RIO-2. Stephanie is very grateful.
727. 10.07.20 Stephanie sent a further email to Tom Vella, IGEM Section Chair, about an offer she’d made on the 18th March to be a speaker about CO at a regional IGEM event.
726. 10.07.20 Stephanie continued to try to contact the students she’d met in Lille and sent another email.
725. 08.07.20 Stephanie corresponded with Emma, a victim, and asked Nathaniel Shaughnessy to add her to the APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) list.
724. 08.07.20 Stephanie sent an email to Sarah Finley, the lady who seemed to suffer from carbon monoxide from going to sleep with a scented candle alight in her bedroom. Stephanie is very keen to speak to Sarah Finley, who seemed happy to publicise this event in the newspapers at the time.
723. 08.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Pamela Goee of SGN, mainly to ask if SGN were still interested in organising trials of either the sweep test or testing of gas appliances for CO?
722. 08.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Woman’s Hour, which she has been doing regularly since at least January 2019, to try to persuade Woman’s Hour to do a feature on CO.
721. 08.07.20 Stephanie chased Steven King and Darren Slater for an answer to the charity’s suggestion that British Gas provide a test (ideally free but, if necessary, paid) of gas appliances for CO and providing PPM of CO, where found, to the consumer/survivor.
720. 06.07.20 Nathaniel Shaughnessy asked Stephanie for any memories of Baroness Maddock. Stephanie wrote to say that she thought Diana was our patron for about ten years. One of her memories about Baroness Maddock is that she had a meeting with almost certainly the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and Stephanie was there too. Someone from CIEH, whose name I’ve forgotten, promised she’d write up something for her about landlords’ gas safety checks/certificates. Stephanie also offered to help the CIEH. She heard nothing and just assumed the CIEH hadn’t bothered to run their suggestions past us.
After some weeks, Stephanie was shocked to receive a desperate call from Diana who was just about to go into Parliament to speak about the landlord’s gas safety checks (or it could have been just how the certificate was given to the tenant – the subject of a recent case) without having received anything from the CIEH. Stephanie then helped Diana as much as possible over the phone so she could give a speech about the need for this. Luckily, Diana was very clued up on the need for tenants not to be taken advantage of by nasty landlords and was passionate that tenants should have the gas safety certificate before they started the tenancy. Stephanie knew the HSE/Parliament would use professional draftsmen/women so assumed they’d get it right. However, that regulation (the regulation can be read at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/2451/regulation/36/made) has always been difficult. The lack of a mandatory service/test of the emissions for CO is the most obvious omission (see my article about this in the New Law Journal 2018 – https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/A-hidden-killer-New-Law-Journal-23.03.18-022_NLJ_7786_BackPage_Trotter.pdf despite overwhelming support for a change, including from APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group), nothing has been done about this. This would help tenants, and most decent RGEs do this anyway now, so it’s just really a question of a tidy up but would protect tenants whose landlords send in the worst RGEs who don’t use flue gas analysers.).
Re Diana – she did host at least one of our House of Lords prize giving events and generously helped Stephanie with the order of the events in a meeting some days beforehand. Stephanie found that extremely helpful.
Diana, did also chase up British Gas for the charity. The charity had had a meeting with Phil Bentley, MD of British Gas, in June 2011. During this meeting Stephanie told Mr Bentley that the gas emergency service did not use equipment to test gas appliances for CO. He cut across her to say to Bob Kerr (who was an employee under PB), ‘that isn’t right is it?’ Bob Kerr was forced to tell his boss that this is correct. At the end of the meeting, although Mr Bentley refused the charity’s request for funding, he did offer to send some letters to HSE, ERA and Ofgem, if drafted. However, having drafted these letters, he then did nothing and later even seemed to forget the meeting had occurred at all.
719. 06.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Barry Sheerman MP and Baroness Finlay to express sadness at the death of Baroness Maddock. Stephanie also asked to be invited to an APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) board meeting to make a presentation to the board. She stated that CO-Gas Safety would also like to take this opportunity to urge the board to communicate with Ofgem and HSE because of the £30 million Ofgem has offered the GDNs (Gas Distribution Networks, who run the gas emergency service) for their initiatives with regard to safety. She continued:-
‘Baroness Finlay in her recommendations in 2011, supported testing of gas appliances for CO, please see attached recommendation 8. Not being able to prove poisoning by CO has always been distressing for survivors. Survivors have told us that their medics and families not believing that they’ve been poisoned by CO is even worse than the injuries they have been left with for the rest of their lives. However, this lack of proof is surely now even more important due to Covid-19?’
718. 05.07.20 Phil Cleaver pointed out that a question in Northern Gas Networks CO Awareness Quiz and answers was incorrect. This is because although the work carried out by HETAS is commendable, to suggest any work undertaken to a ‘solid fuel’ appliance, open fire or other related work such as the servicing, maintenance, and sweeping must be done by a registered HETAS installer or Chimney Sweep is just not correct and woefully misleading, and needs correcting fore with.
719. 04.07.20 Stephanie asked Steven Critchlow of the HSE to pass on our details to those affected by the explosion at Seven Sisters. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-53249416
‘Can you please pass our details onto the family as we do offer some limited victim support.
There doesn’t seem to be any other specific victim support.’
716. 04.07.20 Stephanie asked Dr Craggs, a statistician who has checked our data three times, to check our numbers affected by CO+ page https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/numbers-affected-by-co/
715. Stephanie received the published version of an article by the National Physical Laboratory about graphene being used as a sensor for CO that referred to the data collected by CO-Gas Safety, with CO-Gas Safety’s permission sought and given before publication. Cooperating with the NPL has been very rewarding and a complete pleasure. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2053-1583/ab7bc5
714. 03.07.20 Stephanie sent yet another email to Stacey Rodgers to try to see if she is OK. Stephanie has been trying to contact Stacey for around a year.
713. 26.06.20 The death of Baroness Maddock was noted by Stephanie with great sadness. Baroness Diana Maddock had been CO-Gas Safety’s patron for some years. As an MP she had insisted that the tenant be served with a gas safety certificate before signing any agreement or entering premises and every 12 months thereafter, which CO-Gas Safety completely supported. This was partly the subject of judicial proceedings and the issue described just may go to the Supreme Court because this issue was not fully dealt with in the case of Gas Safety Records and Possession Proceedings: Trecarrell House Limited V Rouncefield  EWCA Civ 760
712. 03.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Nathanial Shaughnessy to tell him that it was Lord Ferrers who told her that tour operators couldn’t possibly make sure that the accommodation for every holidaymaker was safe. Lord Ferrers had implied that far too much detailed work was involved. Stephanie had reposted by pointing out that holiday bookings brochures specified whether or not a room had a sea view, so surely basic life and death safety did not require any more detailed investigation than that?
711. 02.07.20 Stephanie wrote to Avril Samuel of the Katie Haines Memorial Trust about the difficulties CO-Gas Safety was having in raising the difficulties suffered by survivors of CO in obtaining proof of exposure to parts per million of CO or even some idea of how severe their poisoning could be, even for their medics. Also, that raising such issues were not being treated in the way CO-Gas Safety thought was right and that the whole process felt undemocratic and industry led.
710. Stephanie wrote to Nathanial Shaughnessy thanking him for the Canary (the newsletter from APPCOG – (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) with its report on the stakeholder forum’s meeting on the 9th June (first ever virtual meeting):- ‘Finally, there was an item for discussion provided by Stephanie Trotter on a proposal that would allow survivors to receive an accurate measure of the level of CO they had been exposed to for medical referrals.’
Stephanie wrote to Nat to emphasise that this proposal came from CO-Gas Safety not just from her. All others had the organisation specified, e.g. Issie Myers of CO-Med.
Re the carers’ inquiry, Stephanie pointed out that CO-Gas Safety’s proposal – namely that the gas emergency service test gas appliances as much as possible, would surely greatly assist carers?
She also asked for a list of the members of the stakeholders’ forum.
709. Further correspondence in June with Nathanial Shaughnessy, manager of Policy Connect which does the administration for APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group), and Avril Samuel. Stephanie asked in an email dated 30.06.20 to Nathanial Shaughnessy to be allowed to make a presentation to the board of APPCOG.
708. Further correspondence between Mark Wiltshire of Ofgem and Stephanie Trotter in late June.
707. 23.06.20 Zoom meeting with Tom Bell of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) – very positive and cheering. Extract from email sent by Stephanie Trotter after this meeting on 24.06.20:-
‘We would be more than happy to work with you and could have a chat with Richard anytime if that might help. There are other things we think would help and I’ve attached a list of ’what we wanted’ for your interest. However, we’ve always put awareness first to avoid poisoning and testing for CO second, so the victim at least knows how badly they’ve been exposed. Some victims/survivors have said that not being able to convince their medics or family that they’ve been poisoned has been even worse than the debilitating state they are left in; this is heart breaking and, along with prevention, is the main reason I’ve stayed on for over 25 years.’
706. 19.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Steven King and Darren Slater to point out that time was marching on and that CO-Gas Safety’s concerns about the symptoms of CO being similar to those of Covid-19, and therefore the need for a test of gas appliances for CO, was very urgent and needed to be handed up to those above King and Slater.
705. 19.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Mark Wilshire of Ofgem, copied to Jonathan Brearley, to point out that she could no long access https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2019/05/riio-2_sector_specific_methodology_decision_-_gd.pdf . She explained:-
‘The reason we need to revisit this is because we are having a virtual meeting with Northern Gas Networks on Tuesday afternoon next week (23rd) and from my understanding this conflict has arisen:-
- From the attached it seemed to us that it was up to the GDNs (Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service) to put forward their plans and ideas for the use it or lose it allowance/funding.
- The GDNs (or at any rate NGN (Northern Gas Networks)) seem to be saying that they can’t do anything until Ofgem has finalised the details and given them this, which at the earliest seems to be around the end of July.’
Stephanie made the point ‘that the existing system has always made it almost impossible for survivors of exposure to CO to receive proper medical treatment for CO, due to lack of proof of CO exposure. This despite the fact that the HSC/E recognised this in 2000 and made two excellent recommendations to combat this by a levy on gas suppliers to raise awareness of the dangers of CO and for research and for the gas emergency service to use equipment to test gas appliances for CO.
Stephanie pointed out that extrapolating from the small respected university research studies show that over 12 million people are being exposed to CO above 50 parts per million (way above WHO guidelines – please read https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/numbers-affected-by-co/ This is extremely worrying. Stephanie asked Ofgem to contact the charity if it disagreed with our reasoning or mathematics.’
Stephanie further stated, ‘Because CO has symptoms similar to those of any virus, including Covid-19, this is of huge importance with regard to getting some testing of gas appliances up and running ideally by autumn and winter 2020-21.’
Stephanie attached a case where it was obvious that testing for CO would have been helpful to the Council tenant who, due to fear of Covid-19, had problems finding a Registered Gas Engineer (RGE) to service her appliances after being cut off (presumably by the gas emergency service who are under a legal duty to enter if necessary). The Council tenant, Ms Reid, had pneumonia and a five-year-old child at home and her CO alarm had sounded. Her local paper finally managed to help her find a RGE to fix her boiler.
Stephanie also informed Ofgem that CO-Gas Safety ‘had also written to British Gas to ask them to set up a testing service, ideally free but even a reasonably priced test of gas appliances for CO would be very helpful. What consumers need is a test of the emissions or the air in the household after the gas appliances have been reconnected, but just before the gas appliances have been serviced, so that medics can be informed about the CO levels (if found) that survivors have been exposed to. At this time, the system makes sure the evidence of any exposure is destroyed. This was the problem that the HSC/E identified in 2000 and is why the recommendations were made. Sadly, in our view due to lobbying by industry, these excellent recommendations were dropped. Even more sadly, this doesn’t mean the HSE was wrong.’
Stephanie further pointed out that ‘Many other problems flow from a lack of testing for CO. Our one minute film (see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/one-survivors-story/) (about Sue Westwood, now a trustee of CO-Gas Safety), shows that Sue was suspected by doctors of taking cocaine when in fact she was being exposed to CO. Gill Wing was poorly treated due to the lack of knowledge by medics about CO. Indeed there is a widespread belief amongst doctors that CO poisoning is rare, when it certainly is not.’
704. 18.06.20 Stephanie received an email from Avril Samuel who kindly supported the need for testing of gas appliances for CO by the gas emergency service and didn’t think it had been properly dealt with at the stakeholder group in March.
703. 16.06.20 Stephanie corresponded with Tom Bell of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) to discuss innovation. Meeting fixed for 23.06.20 to discuss Ofgem and Use It Or Lose It (UIOLI) allowance.
702. Stephanie corresponded with Jim Kinnibrugh, a chimney expert who now lives in Italy but is doing what he can to help a CO survivor renting from a Local Authority who is continuing to be concerned about fumes from her neighbour through a joint chimney. Her neighbour owns the house next door, having bought it from the Council many years earlier. Stephanie has been trying to help this person for some time.
701. 14.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Steven King and Darren Slater of British Gas asking for three things from BG.
‘We are asking for three things:-
- Leadership by BG.
- Practical help for survivors of CO.
- Funding to provide support for survivors of CO and their families.
We would like BG to support the recommendations made by HSC/E in 2000 but not implemented. Please see attached. We’d like BG to call for their implementation, especially due to the fact that CO has symptoms similar to any virus including Covid-19. Please see attached case about Ms Reid, a Council tenant. Of course, it might be possible to implement the spirit of these recommendations in other ways.
2. Practical help for survivors by testing the air and ideally gas appliances for CO
We would like BG to be able to offer ideally a free (or reasonably priced) service testing gas appliances for CO ASAP without changing the appliances first (i.e. under CMDDA1) and providing CO survivors with parts per million in writing of CO (if any) for their use and for the use of their medics. Please see the experience Gill Wing endured from the medics she saw. This is typical. This service is surely vital, particularly in view of Covid-19.
BG is surely in a unique position to step up to the plate to provide this service into action this autumn?
I recently learned from Andy Speake of AICO that all CO alarms manufactured after 2014 can have a record of the peak level of CO, if any, downloaded by an app. This would be a great step forward and I’m going to talk to Andy today. However, I think a test for CO by British Gas would be even better. Perhaps both could be done?
3. Funding for victim support
There are two well funded gas safety charities, the Gas Safety Trust and the Gas Safe Charity, yet neither do what this tiny charity tries to do which is to provide some victim support in order to support and help desperate people and their families. We also learn from where things went wrong and suggest ways to improve safety for future prevention. We also collect, collate and publish unintentional deaths and injuries from CO from all fuels and have done since 1995. Our data shows that, per user, gas is safer than other fuels. We think the reputation of British Gas would be greatly enhanced by funding CO-Gas Safety, given for obvious reasons, on an unconditional basis.
We have found after over 25 years of doing what we can, that evidence of poisoning, where it exists, is the most vital thing for victims/survivors. Victims/survivors and families also greatly appreciate talking to someone who understands what they are going through and can point them to helpful medics etc.
There are obviously many other things that victim support can and should offer. However, the consequence of being severely poisoned so that you can’t even get out of bed without being able to find a cause and therefore everyone, including your loved ones and medics, assume you are suffering purely from some sort of mental breakdown, is as you can imagine horrendous, and a waste of NHS funds.’
700. Stephanie had written to Neil Atkinson CEO of IGEM on the 02.06.20 but wrote again on the 11.06.20 having found his direct email. She did receive a formal response on the 12th June but only that the conference on CO had to be deferred until 2021.
699. 10.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Tom Bell of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) giving him feedback on the NGN’s quiz and also our quiz. Pointed out that downloading from CO alarms would assist survivors.
698. 09.06.20 APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) virtual stakeholder meeting. Stephanie attended. Excellent presentation by Andy Speake of AICO which stated that all EN 50291 CO alarms had downloadable data using an iPhone so that amounts of CO a survivor was exposed to could be ascertained. Stephanie praised this and pointed out how helpful that would be. Reported on CO-Gas Safety’s continuing work and the poisoning of a nine-year-old in a Scottish school.
Under AOB Stephanie raised concerns about the coming autumn and winter and the fact that unless survivors had PPM (Parts Per Million) of CO doctors didn’t believe them so why didn’t the gas emergency service test gas appliances for CO? Also, the confusion between symptoms of CO and Covid-19. Asked for trials. Tom Bell asked for written proposals but wouldn’t be able to answer until Ofgem confirmed what it was allowing. Stephanie and Sue Westwood (also attended) considered this was a fob off.
Stephanie queried the sounds of CO alarms and was told these were now on a website https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrBY0G8Y3odn5y-nT7DdEAg/videos Having checked these it seems that they are but you have to find the make of alarm. Stephanie listened to Honeywell XC100D and it seems in the one Stephanie listened to that continuous 4 chirps for 60 minutes indicates dangerous levels and the emergency procedure should be followed. This seems confusing and not loud enough.
697. 09.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Avril of the Katies Haines Memorial Trust and sent the yellow booklet which contained the accounts from survivors and victims, which we think persuaded HSE to make its recommendations in 2000.
696. 08.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Nat, APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) manager, about CO-Gas Safety’s concerns for this autumn and winter as symptoms of CO are similar to any virus, including Covid-19.
Described the report of Ms Reid. Drew attention to the small university studies, around 12 million people in UK could be being exposed to CO of 50 PPM and above https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/numbers-affected-by-co/
These reasons make testing for CO all the more important, especially if the previously planned study of 75,000 homes won’t happen. In 2015 the large study was announced and was said to be funded, yet five years have elapsed already. Therefore, even if the large study is started, action should surely be taken now on the results of the findings of the small studies.
Drew attention to the £30 million being provided by Ofgem and couldn’t the GDNs (Gas Distribution Networks who run the gas emergency service) use this and their own funds to test gas appliances for CO.
Drew his attention to case studies and Sue’s film https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/one-survivors-story/ and how the medics thought Sue was taking cocaine, which she certainly wasn’t, rather than being poisoned by CO.
Asked APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) to please at least call for trials to be run before this year’s heating season restarts to understand the issues surrounding such a process, particularly in view of Covid-19?
Asked for APPCOG to please draw attention to the need for testing for CO by the gas emergency service in Parliament, ASAP?
Asked to be put in touch with the innovation teams ASAP.
695. 06.06.20 Stephanie wrote to a Councillor about Ms Reid.
694. 06.06.20 Stephanie wrote again to Jon Brady about Ms Reid and the general issue of testing gas appliances for CO.
693. 05.06.20 Stephanie received an acknowledgement from Ofgem of FOI request.
692. 05.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Jill Wakefield of HSE to ask for the minutes of the departmental committee on CO after 2017-18.
691. 04.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Tom Bell of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) about the advice given to someone ringing the gas emergency service.
690. 04.06.20 Wrote to Jonathan Brearley of Ofgem and under the FOI Act – similar questions to those asked of HSE. Basically, about the MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) and need each organisation had to consult each other.
689. 02.06.20 Stephanie liaised with Jim Kinnibrugh, chimney expert, with regard to a particular survivor who is in a Council house and possibly being poisoned by fumes from next door’s private house through joint chimney leakage.
688. 02.06.20 Stephanie wrote to Chair of HSE under FOI.
We ask the following questions under the FOI Act:-
- Has the HSE recently considered whether or not the gas emergency services could or should test gas appliances for CO?
- If so, who was involved in these discussions and what conclusions did HSE reach?
- If no, why hasn’t HSE considered whether or not the gas emergency services could or should test gas appliances for CO?
- Has the HSE discussed with Ofgem using GD2 funding to help the gas emergency services test gas appliances for CO?
- If no, what plans are there if any, to have such a discussion?
- If there are no plans for such a discussion, why is this?
- If yes, what discussions have taken place?
- Finally, would HSE consider or support a project or trial of the gas emergency service testing gas appliances for CO or undertaking a sweep test after relighting the gas appliances?
687. 01.06.20 Wrote to Nat, manager of Policy Connect.
‘We find it incomprehensible that these horrendous figures (in the research referred to) seem to be just ignored particularly by HSE. However, I’ve heard recently that HSE has lost all morale and it never had much enthusiasm for gas safety.
We also find it incomprehensible that this promised further study into 75,000 homes has not been carried out, whatever the reason. Surely if funds had been cut for the fire service, the wealthy fuel industry could and should have been asked to contribute? We didn’t even hear that cuts to the fire service had affected this study until very recently. If we had, we would have lobbied for this. Since this study hasn’t happened, surely the numbers found small studies should be acted on by the gas emergency service carrying and using equipment to test gas appliances for CO, at least in some trials, while the further large study is undertaken?
Just ignoring this issue when so many people (over 12 million people in the UK appear to be exposed to high levels of CO) and symptoms of CO can be confused with those of any virus, including Covid-19, is wrong? https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/mum-recovering-from-pneumonia-claimed-angus-council-initially-refused-to-fix-gas-because-they-believed-she-had-coronavirus/ and attached (because it is hard to download fully) is illustrative of the problem.
Surely APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) could and should approach the HSE, the gas suppliers and Ofgem and if necessary, express its opinion publicly? Could you please put this to APPCOG and get back to us? If you can’t do this, please let us know that you can’t. Thank you.’
686. 01.06.20 Stephanie wrote to The Times – sadly not published. Asked for letter to be passed on to Kevin Mather.
‘Congratulations to Kevin Mather for having a go at Boris for encouraging barbecuing. Thank you Kevin for raising awareness that ‘Barbecuing meat produces carcinogenic chemicals’ and for informing us that ‘It’s scientific fact, not a rumour.’
If people must barbecue, we ask them to use the gas powered ones with a cover.
Boris is probably also unaware, or doesn’t care, that the gas emergency service does not use equipment to test gas appliances for the silent but deadly gas carbon monoxide. Yet the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic those of any virus, including Covid-19, (see attached article about Council tenant, Ms Katie Reid).
Obviously Boris either doesn’t know or doesn’t care, (see attached about Boris and child of courage, Jaydee-Lee). I and the charity have spent over 25 years lobbying about these issues.’
685. 01.06.20 Stephanie wrote to email@example.com ‘Symptoms of any virus, including Covid-19, are similar to carbon monoxide poisoning yet the gas emergency service has no equipment to test gas appliances for carbon monoxide (CO). Why is this?’
684. 29.05.20 Trotter wrote to Phil Burrows of Cadent to congratulate him and Cadent on the following https://thegirlsun.com/girl-9-saves-her-street-from-disaster-after-waking-her-family-when-she-smelled-gas-leak-at-4am/
683. Stephanie followed up on NICE and sent an email proving that CO-Gas Safety had sent a response on the 22.07.19 as follows:-
From: Stephanie Trotter
Sent: 22 July 2019 13:08
To: NICE (firstname.lastname@example.org) <email@example.com>
Cc: Giovanni Leonardi Sani Dimitroulopoulou; Lyndsey Baldwin; Jim Lambeth; Overton Paul; copy to Stephanie Trotter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Indoor air quality Guidance
‘There is no mention that I can find of carbon monoxide and only one mention that I found on combustion and that concentrates only on particulates. Namely:- DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION Indoor air quality: NICE guideline DRAFT (June 2019) 15 of 36Particulate matter1Particulate matter (also referred to as PM or particle pollution) is a complex mixture 2 of solid or liquid particles suspended in air. These particles can vary in size, shape 3and composition. Indoor particulate matter can be generated through cooking, 4 combustion (including candles, open solid-fuel fires, unvented space heaters or 5paraffinheatersandsmoking).
There is another document brought out in 2018 re carbon monoxide and CO and as well as the medical side there is the following:- Checking home for carbon monoxide leaks
Acute exposure to low concentrations of carbon monoxide are unlikely to result in harm, however, they indicate a risk of future exposure to higher concentrations and of harm from chronic low-level exposure, and therefore the home environment should be checked for carbon monoxide leaks [Toxbase, 2013<https://cks.nice.org.uk/carbon-monoxide-poisoning#%21references/1329466>]
This is great advice but how does the patient do this? Firstly, the patient’s higher intellectual functions may well be affected. Secondly checking the home environment is virtually impossible for many reasons.
- Despite a recommendation made by HSC/E in 2000 that the gas emergency service carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for CO this has not been implemented.
- Anyone who has had work done by a Registered Gas Engineer in the previous 6 months can ask the Gas Safe Register to send an inspector who will test the gas appliance for CO but if the person is a tenant then the GSR requires the permission of the landlord first so the boiler and evidence will in our experience either disappear or be changed.
- There is a qualification called CMDDA1 which enables a RGE to test an appliance for CO for around £100 to £500 but we have found that almost every RGE assumes he is bound by the policy 8.2 of the GSR. We are sure the ordinary RGE is not so bound but even though we offered to pay in advance we couldn’t find any RGE with CMDDA1 to test for CO.
- The algorithm* for CO has a ‘black hole’ at box 4 on page 1. What the patient needs is an independent gas expert to test for CO. This is almost never arranged by NPIS or by PHE because they seem to lack the resources to do so. We have been pointing this out for years.’ *https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carbon-monoxide-co-algorithm-to-diagnose-poisoning
682. Stephanie wrote to AskNGN@northerngas.co.uk on 25.05.20 and received a very polite response on the 27.05.20 but responded with:
‘Thank you very much indeed for your response.
How can the symptoms of CO be tested for immediately without tests of gas appliances and their emissions and/or at least the air in the household for CO?
Please do let me know because we don’t understand how that could be done by educational packs only. Of course, knowing the symptoms and asking the right questions might lead the experienced questioner to come to a provisional conclusion.
However, to be certain whether or not someone has been exposed to dangerous levels of CO (possibly some time earlier) then surely the only way is to test the emissions of the appliances when relight and/or the air in the house etc. for CO?’
681. 18.05.20 Stephanie sent an email about the confusion between CO and Covid-19 and the need to revisit the HSC/E’s recommendation for the gas emergency service to test appliances for CO to the Minister responsible for the HSE, Mims Davies MP.
680. 18.05.20 Stephanie wrote to Lord McKenzie of Luton; Baroness Finlay; Baroness Maddock; Barry Sheerman; Philip Hunt Lord; copies to Chair of HSE Martin Temple; Jonathan Brearley; Chris Bielby to raise the problem about symptoms of CO being similar to those of any virus including Covid-19 and therefore the need for the gas emergency service to test gas appliances for CO.
679. 14.05.20 Stephanie inquired of SGN, Pamela Goee, if any trials were taking place using Flue Gas Analysers. Pamela Goee did respond on 22.05.20 but it doesn’t seem that trials of testing for CO are taking place which is very disappointing.
678. 08.05.20 Thanks to a survivor put the following on our website.
‘Help for Functional Neurological Disorder https://fndhope.org/ Recommended by a survivor of carbon monoxide poisoning. Our thanks to this person and his wife. Please let us know how you get on by emailing us email@example.com so we can pass on your recommendations.’
677. Trotter dealt with various queries from survivors in May.
676. 06.05.20 Trotter corresponded with Phil Burrows of Cadent about the need for survivors to know the parts per million of CO they’ve been exposed to.
675. 06.05.20 Stephanie was contacted by someone whose son Tom had died of CO while on holiday with this girlfriend’s family in Scotland. Ultimately Stephanie was able to recommend a Scottish solicitor who Stephanie had met many years ago and who also connected to Parlex, the group of European lawyers founded by BWB, the firm Stephanie’s husband works for.
674. 05.05.20 Stephanie received answers about Dr Shaw’s presentation (PPP) but it seems that the research into 75,000 homes didn’t go ahead apparently due to lack of funds by the fire service.
Dr Shaw stated, ‘The 75000 homes was the target for HFSC for the fire service within the period but not the main thrust of the study which was the data logger placement. The fire service handed CO safety leaflets to each of the houses they conducted a HFSC in. GST funded the research element – the delivery of the programme on the ground was to be carried out by the FRS as part of their community work. Once the cuts bit this was cut back as they were only allowed to do their basic duties.’
However, the original press release in 2015 https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/about-us/news/life-saving-research-into-carbon-monoxide stated that funding had been found.
‘The Gas Safety Trust (GST) also awarded a grant to LJMU to expand the study from two city centres to five counties by partnering with five Fire and Rescue Services, Merseyside, Cornwall, Bedfordshire, West Midlands and Oxfordshire. The funding is also supported by an in-kind contribution from the Council for Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM) whose members have supplied CO alarms and data loggers to undertake a comprehensive CO investigation covering 75,000 households.
Dr Andy Shaw, CO project Manager said: “The concept of this work is to get a national perspective on the number of people who maybe suffering either acute or chronic poisoning from Carbon Monoxide without being aware and determine the risk factors that may exist both in terms of health impact and in prevention.
“After the initial study was complete I was asked to take part in several CO working groups in Westminster and I’m now a member of the CO+ Science and technology group. This has led to the team collating the body of evidence for the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group which allowed me to submit LJMU’s research findings on the CO study.”
673. Stephanie tried to find an engineer qualified under CMDDA1 to test gas appliances for CO for a survivor.
672. 04.05.20 Stephanie corresponded with Steven King of British Gas about CO, Ben Kuchta’s cut-off device and the need for testing gas appliances for CO and giving survivors the amount for their medics.
671. Followed this up with an email to John Moore’s asking for any further information about the research into 75,000 houses.
670. 29.04.20 Stephanie had corresponded with Chris Bielby over the PPP he’d sent us that was given by Dr Shaw in 2018 but which still doesn’t deal with the research into 75,000 houses.
669. 29.024.20 Stephanie wrote to Avril Samuel congratulating her and the trust on persuading Amazon to stop stocking the black spot detectors.
668. 27.04.20 Stephanie compiled a case study about her friends whose dog Colin alerted them to CO. Stephanie sent this to the Listening Project.
667. 25.04.20 Stephanie wrote to Saga magazine about CO and Covid-19.
666. 25.04.20 Stephanie wrote to Dr Mark Porter chasing up an email sent in January and making a point about CO and Covid-19.
665. 24.04.20 Stephanie wrote again to Jill Walker of NGN (Northern Gas Networks) offering help with a PPP about CO.
664. 23.04.20 Chris Bielby notified Stephanie of the sad death of Molly Maher. Stephanie spent time writing an obituary for our website.
663. 21.04.20 Stephanie wrote to Chris Bielby of SGN (Scotia Gas Networks) asking what happened to the research of 75,000 houses. This was to chase up same sent on 31.03.20. Eventually Chris sent her a presentation by Dr Andy Shaw in 2018 on about 500 homes. Hardly the 75,000 homes though.
662. Stephanie heard from Jill Walker of Northern Gas Networks about the computer based training about CO.
661. 21.04.20 Stephanie Trotter tried to contact Stacey Rodgers again.
660. 21.04.20 Stephanie Trotter got in touch with Paul Hull, a RGE. Very good conversation on the telephone.
659. Stephanie wrote to Mark Horsley CEO, of Northern Gas Networks about RIO-2 suggesting equipping the FCOs with equipment to test gas appliances for CO.
658. 20.04.20 Response from Dianne Dodds’ office received. This stated that although the First Call Operators have equipment to test for CO after relighting, they lack the training to test individual appliances for CO. Stephanie wrote back suggesting what is really needed is a flue gas analyser which can at least test the air (sweep test) after the gas appliances have been relit and ideally, test the emissions from each appliance in order that the appliance emitting the CO can be identified and turned off.
657. 15.04.20 Wrote to Sharon Baker of Gi magazine, the following:-
CO and Covid-19
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning has similar symptoms to any virus including Covid-19. As far as we know CO doesn’t give people a fever, but we’ve heard Covid-19 doesn’t necessarily give everyone with it a fever either. Therefore, there is obviously a danger of confusion between any old virus, CO and Covid-19. A recent example can be found at https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/mum-recovering-from-pneumonia-claimed-angus-council-initially-refused-to-fix-gas-because-they-believed-she-had-coronavirus/
Ms Reid, a tenant, apparently suffering pneumonia and with a five year old at home in freezing Dundee, had problems obtaining the services of a Registered Gas Engineer to fix her central heating boiler allegedly because of fear of Covid-19. The local newspaper apparently helped her.
There are two issues here:-
1. The testing issue.
There is a shortage of tests for Covid-19. All RGEs, including First Call Operators for the emergency service, have to do CPA1 i.e. learn to use a flue gas analyser.
So why doesn’t the gas emergency service carry & use equipment to test gas appliances and/at least the air indoors for CO? FCOs do wear Personal Alarm Monitors for CO but because the person phoning the gas emergency number 0800111999 is told to turn everything off and open the windows, by the time the FCO arrives usually any CO will have disappeared. Yet how can anyone be safe unless and until the source of any CO is found or CO is ruled out? Please note that HSE recommended that all FCOs carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for CO in 2000, but this was never implemented.
2. Personal protective equipment
RGEs tell me that all RGEs, including FCOs are equipped with protective clothing with regard to asbestos, which would also protect against Covid-19. Obviously this needs to be checked but the PPE look similar to me. Why isn’t the GSR urging RGEs to wear their PPE? I couldn’t find anything about PPE on https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/landlords/ on 15th April. Why isn’t APPCOG(The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) and IGEM issuing advice?’
This was not published by Gi Magazine.
656. Stephanie wrote to Chris Geeves of Chimney Skills Training about him joining the meetings re APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group).
655. 06.04.20 Stephanie wrote to Diane Dodds, Economy Minister for N. Ireland about CO and Covid-19.
654. 06.04.20 Stephanie wrote to Ian McCluskey Head of Technical and Policy of IGEM about Ms Katie Reid and Covid-19 and protective clothing (i.e. PPE) for RGEs.
653. Servicing has been suspended in N. Ireland due to Covid-19. Understandable but worrying. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus/calls-rejected-for-suspension-of-gas-boiler-servicing-in-rented-properties-to-prevent-spread-of-covid-19-in-northern-ireland-39098951.html
652. 03.04.20 Trotter contacted the MP for Katie Reid, namely Dave Doogan MP, and did speak to him and sent him an email. However, there has been no written response other than an automatic one.
651. 02.04.20 Trotter wrote to IGEM putting forward that Trotter should be a speaker at the IGEM conference. Part of the letter is as follows:-
‘Do you have any reasons why I wouldn’t be suitable? If so, I would like to know what they are because I find it very strange that it seems so hard to obtain an invitation to speak about what we’ve been doing for the last 25 years. I attach my one page CV.
You might be reassured to know that I was asked by the Chief Coroner to give a talk to Local Authority officials, whose job it is to deal with Coroners and their officers (in 2016) and this seemed to go very well.
Surely the leading professional organisation in gas should be interested in hearing a talk from such a hardworking and long-standing victim group?’
650. 01.04.20 Trotter wrote to John Brady of the Tele to thank the Tele for helping Katie Reid, who was a Council tenant in Arbroath in Angus Council and had been at home with pneumonia and a five-year-old when her CO alarm sounded. The gas was cut off, but Ms Reid had problems finding a RGE to service her boiler because the RGEs thought she had Covid-19.
649. 26.03.20 Trotter helped a tenant who suspected poisoning by CO by writing to his landlord, Cross Key Homes.
648. 26.03.20 Trotter wrote to Ian McCluskey of IGEM about the fact that APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) had a virtual meeting with IGEM on the 25th but that there was hardly any information about this.
647. 23.03.20 Trotter wrote to APPCOG (The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group) asking that a test for carbon monoxide be undertaken on every suspected coronavirus death and the result recorded in writing and published.
646. 23.03.20 Trotter wrote to the Chief Coroner about the difficulties posed by symptoms of CO being like any virus including Covid-19, yet there being no available free testing of appliances for CO and even paid-for testing is almost impossible for an ordinary consumer to obtain.
645. 20.03.20 Trotter wrote again to Public Health England about the algorithm. She wrote to Sani Dimitroulopoulou about ‘the hole’ for GPs in the algorithm which refers GPs to PHE or NPIS yet these organisations do not provide testing of homes or the gas appliances for CO.
The PHE algorithm used by GPs* to decide if their patient is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning advises,
‘If the patient does not improve:
- contact the NPIS (National Poisons Information Service) for advice
- contact your local PHE centre for advice
- reconsider diagnosis’
However, there is no provision for an investigation by an expert who can test the gas appliances for Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Surely there should be an investigator who will test appliances for CO and, if CO is found, provide parts per million of CO to GPs, so that that accurate medical diagnoses can be made?
644. 19.03.20 Trotter tried and later failed to get an article published in Gi magazine about the lack of testing and GD2.
‘I am writing regarding this article, ‘Ofgem RIIO 2- challenge group disappointed with the lack of proactivity from network companies’.
CO-Gas Safety is also disappointed; not just with two of the Gas Distribution Network providers but also with lack of action by Ofgem and particularly the HSE.
Pollution indoors is about 30 times what it is outdoors, mainly from heating and cooking, and does obviously contribute to outdoor pollution.
Meanwhile the fuel industry has still failed to provide concerned consumers with a free test of emissions from a boiler, fire or cooker for carbon monoxide (CO), a deadly gas of which less than 2% in the air can kill in between one and three minutes* yet cannot be sensed using human senses.
*http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/hid_circs/technical_osd/spc_tech_osd_30/spctecosd30.pdf see Para 74 table 23 page 26
12,800 ppm Immediate effect, unconscious after 2 to 3 breaths, danger of death in 1 to 3 minutes
SGN may undertake trials of a free test which would be brilliant but only they and Cadent asked CO-Gas Safety to a stakeholder meeting and/or a consultation before submitting their plans.
However, although we’re disappointed with the other GDNs & Ofgem, Health and Safety is surely more the duty of the HSE than Ofgem? So why does HSE ignore our plea for Gas Emergency Service First Call Operators to carry and use equipment to test appliances for CO?
What’s so annoying is HSE (or HSC as then) recommended gas emergency services carry and use this equipment 20 years ago, after a fundamental gas safety review. This was made with the support of the majority of the stakeholders.
HSE/C also recommended a levy be imposed on gas suppliers to pay for publicity to raise awareness of CO. In our opinion, these suppliers may have lobbied to have these excellent recommendations dropped but we have worked hard to raise these vital issues for over 25 years, despite being ignored and dismissed.
The consequence is most people are still unaware of the dangers of CO and victims of exposure to CO can’t prove to their loved ones or medics why they are so ill. As a result victims of CO are often belittled, disbelieved and given the wrong medical treatment.
CO-Gas Safety is extremely grateful to Julie Connolly of John Moore’s Liverpool University for her PhD in which she interviewed 11 victims of CO to hear their stories from their point of view. See http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11785/ – It’s over 300 pages and I hope to write an article about it soon.
This Gi article ends with the Energy Networks Association asking for engagement with customers and stakeholders. We publicly offer to engage, just as we have for 25 years tried to engage industry on behalf of CO victims. In case of doubt, our contact details are: https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or text / call 07803 088688.
As of today this underfunded, small charity appears to be the only free source of support for victims of CO – surely this can’t be right?’
However, Stephanie was encouraged to write a letter re the difficulty landlords experience of gas safety certificates running out in lockdown and suggested a solution – providing CO alarms. This was published.
643. 18.03.20 Trotter asked Nigel Winnan of Wales & West Utilities about fundin,g as at the recent stakeholder meeting he had said there was some funding available. Received a response and wrote further. Asked to a meeting which was subsequently cancelled due to Covid-19 lockdown.
642. 18.03.20 Trotter asked to be a speaker at a virtual IGEM section meeting in the future.
641. 16.03.20 Trotter came across article in 2011 about increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) due to CO. www.epidem.com S 165. Please note that SIDS in itself is an admission that no known cause of death has been found. Adults can also suffer unexplained deaths but sometimes a cause can be found see https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/sudden-arrhythmic-death-syndrome Causes are important because then family members can be examined and treated.
640. 16.03.20 Trotter received full response from Pamela Goee of SGN about our questions. However, we are still convinced that the gas emergency service should test the air and ideally use a Flue Gas Analyser to test the emissions from gas appliances for CO? The reason for this is surely for safety the source of CO should be found and for correct medical treatment the amount of CO the survivor has been exposed to should at least be estimated?
639. 16.03.20. Trotter wrote to Maureen Nolan of the Gas Safe Charity to point out the lack of victim support and difficulties survivors face over the lack of proof of CO.
638. 16.03.20 Trotter conferred with the fire and rescue service over the creation of a protocol re CO, similar to the one used by the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and also the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps. She put Adrian Hutt in touch with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
637. 15.03.20 Trotter received lovely compliments about our 25th anniversary press pack from a member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.
636. 14.03.20 Trotter looked into the Emiliano Sala crash https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51870306.Offered support re CO to the Coroner by email.
635. 13.03.20 Trotter helped someone setting up a business of wood burning saunas on boats.
634. 13.03.20 Trotter helped someone whose child aged 9 was exposed to CO at school in Scotland. Levels of at least 70 PPM according to fire officers apparently.
Thought of making CO part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.
633. 10.03.20 The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG0 stakeholder meeting was attended by Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton.
Stephanie sent Nathanial Shaughnessy some notes she’d made about what she’d said at the meeting to help him compile the minutes as follows:-
‘Notes made of what Stephanie Trotter of CO-Gas Safety said at the meeting 10.03.20
Please note that information in italics is for your information or material I would like added as notes at the bottom of the minutes at your discretion.
ST made the initial point that in November 2019 (the last meeting) there were 30 attendees and 39 apologies but neither Avril, Lynn, Stacey, Molly nor Frank were asked to this meeting. Appreciated that possibly Stacey is ill and Lynn and Molly refused to be part of CO+SAVi. However, CO-Gas Safety did not give up on providing victim input. However, after we failed to persuade the AFAF to even put forward our ideas for the Energy Bill 2013, most of the members of CO+ SAVi lost heart.
(Notes added for explanation purely for you. CO+SAVi a sub group of victims and victim groups were given no real support in the form of admin support and most of the members had to attend paying their own expenses. We thought the meetings of the stakeholder groups had stopped but eventually found out they were continuing and asked to attend in November 2019.)
25th January 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the CO-Gas Safety charity, with a special press pack launched. The charity has been collecting data for 24 of these 25 years and ongoing with 95% of the unintentional deaths (we only record these) from CO in this database verified by some official report usually from coroners, and recently received recognition from the National Physical Laboratory, specialising in measurement technologies. They were impressed by our data and how it was collected. (I am hoping to be able to send you the two emails she sent to me just before the meeting or even better their article when it is published which it is due to be, any minute.)
Annual CO awareness competition, run through ‘Safety Seymour’ initiative in primary schools continuing in 2020 – going to Jersey for the first time this year thanks to Cadent and to Margaret Jeffery, who lost her husband to CO on a boat (see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Press-Pack-as-per-22.02.19.pdf page 10). The GDNs are to be greatly commended for the continued success of this competition and for the continued improvement to this initiative.
Please read article written by ST in the New Law Journal about how difficult it is for those suffering from carbon monoxide to prove CO even to obtain diagnosis of CO for the correct medical help, let alone make legal claims https://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/content/co-the-hidden-dangers
Lille CO Conference on the 4th March– very good
Hilary Wareing from COMed was very interesting and made the point that CO was found from appliances in pregnant women but only because they were looking at preventing pregnant women smoking. She appeared to be unhappy that this whole initiative had only been started as a stop smoking intervention, rather than looking at CO for its own sake.
The research at Lille was interesting. Dr. Mari Heristad of Sheffield Hallam university told us about her research on very low levels of CO (1-6 PPM) and the effect on the brains of healthy students aged under 25. This was worrying.
Dr Julie Connolly gave a very good presentation about her PhD work of using IPA, which seemed to me to mean listening to 11 CO victims. The GST is to be commended for funding her. However, there still seems to be virtually no victim support other than what CO-Gas Safety or the Katie Haines Memorial Trust (i.e. me and Avril) provides. (CO-Gas Safety has no guaranteed funding and whenever funding is mentioned we never seem to be eligible. Someone from Wales & West, I think he was called Nigel told me there is some funding available – could you possibly ask him? Thank you.)
CO-Gas Safety recently engaged with HSE on improving regulations, especially those made in 2000 as a result of a massive gas safety review (levy on gas suppliers to raise awareness and for the gas emergency service to carry and use gas appliances to test for CO – not implemented due we think to lobbying by the gas suppliers) and with the support of the majority of the stakeholders. However, we were met with an extremely negative response – IM said recently in the CO conference Lille that she would go with us to see the HSE to ask for help (but later in this meeting said she had not said this but would put this (to a vote?) of the COMed committee – could you please ask Isabella to clarify? Thank you. Could you also ask her why wouldn’t COMed seek help from all government departments especially the HSE?).
Two students recounted the death of a flatmate and his girlfriend to CO in the shower in 2017 in Lille which was very moving. In my opinion this presentation stole the show. I publicly asked the students (whom I had not met before), for their suggestions to prevent future deaths and they spoke about increased awareness and the use of TV warnings as well as other methods such as social media.
Jonathan Kane finished with prevention and protection.
ST then highlighted the continuing problem of referrals, with the ‘algorithm’ (see page 1 box four) for GPs with regard to diagnosing CO poisoning issued by PHE. The problem with this is that GPs are advised to consult with NPIS or PHE (or reconsider diagnosis of CO) but currently neither NPIS nor PHE have the resources to test the appliances in a suspected victim’s house.
Note after meeting. We have been trying to get this changed for many years because we consider this is wrong for the GP and the patient.
In the past Hilary Wareing of COMed obtained a test from the Gas Safe Register of a victim’s appliances but we have not heard of GPs or normal victims, especially tenants, being able to do this.
GPs could be advised to seek this help and GSR will test gas appliances only for CO but only if work done by a Registered Gas Engineer within the last 6 months and even then, will not do this if a tenant is the patient without the landlord’s permission. Please see https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/media/2376/p001_con001-consumer-policy-our-service-explained-v71.pdf
‘If you are a tenant, we will seek permission from your landlord before undertaking our
investigation. However, if you do not wish to engage your landlord, we will only be able
to conduct a visual inspection of the installation. Whilst we accept your request this will
limit the extent and effectiveness of our investigation into your complaint.
Note: Where we identify gas related safety defects we may be obliged to inform your
landlord or their agent, where known.’
ST Most tenants are too frightened to even ask. Had put that this should be changed to the GSR and HSE but they did not support a change. ST could not understand why not as testing would not damage the appliance and surely the tenant’s life and/or health was at risk?
At some stage ST said that we were in favour of research but surely meanwhile, awareness and proof are surely vital.
ST finished update by talking about the numbers affected by CO and that we had looked again at this entry on our website see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/numbers-affected-by-co/ . Millions could be being affected by CO above 50 PPM even in the UK.
ST asked about the research on 75,000 homes and asked what had happened to this research which was to be funded by the Gas Safety Trust in an announcement in 2015. CB made various comments. [However, I am still not sure what the true position is and ask him to let us all know whether the research is stuck over the ethics (which I think is unlikely as this study seemed to be exactly the same as the previous studies, just a lot larger) or has been done and the report is stuck somewhere. Is there another study by EDCO whatever that is? Found a note since the meeting and while filing from Olivier Buckley-Mellor about some EDCO study and it means nothing to me nor does EDCO.]
PO said that his daughter, Sian has made a new video released on CO-Gas Safety website, offering the perspective of both a survivor and family member about the death of her older half sister Katie Overton. Katie, aged eleven and a half, tragically died of CO in 2003. This video covers the ongoing impact of the death on the whole family. This family was also poisoned by CO over many months, before and at Katie’s death, and then continuing for about 10 days after Katie’s death. Then one morning Paul woke up feeling terrible and there was a horrific smell so he realised that the boiler wasn’t right, and they all felt really ill so he turned off the boiler (or it cut off itself – he’s not sure). He was a private tenant, so he called the agent who then sent a CORGI engineer (as the registering body then was). The CORGI engineer realised from the boiler’s state that it was probably emitting CO, left some sampling equipment in the house when he reconnected the boiler. The CORGI engineer then left the equipment in the house for a while, (about half an hour) and then ran in and out (holding his breath) to obtain the readings. When he saw the readings, he was surprised nobody else had died. Paul then reported this and although Katie had been cremated some blood samples had been kept and were tested and CO found as the cause of death.
Please note that I forgot to mention this important finding announced at the Lille conference:-
Beth Cheshire (Lancaster University) found that a rise of 3% COHb affected driving skills. We find this extremely worrying.’ End of these notes.
632. 03.03.20 Stephanie Trotter left for a conference about CO in Lille organised by APRIM, which is the ‘Association Francaise Professionnelle contre les Risques d’Intoxication au Monoxyde de carbonne’. This was an excellent conference and many gave talks including many English people such as Jonathan Kane, Isabella Myers and Hilary Wareing, as well as some survivors of CO in France. A flat mate and the flat mate’s girlfriend had tragically died in the shower from CO. Stephanie Trotter made herself known to these students and exchanged contact details. Sue Westwood would have loved to have attended too but sadly she was too unwell to do so.
Stephanie Trotter later wrote to Isabella Myers about asking her group to consider approaching the HSE about the two recommendations HSC/E made in 2000 (levy on the gas suppliers for raising awareness & research and for the gas emergency service to test gas appliances for CO). Stephanie thought Isabella Myers had said she would consider this at the conference.
631. 11.02.20 Stephanie Trotter, Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane had a meeting with Chris Bielby of SGN.
630. 16.01.20 Paid Webster Mugavazi £363 for filming work re Sian Overton.
629. Sue Westwood, trustee & director, gave a radio interview to the Becky Want Show BBC Manchester.
628. 1.01.20 Stephanie Trotter, attended two SGN webinars. Followed this up on the same day with an email sent to Richard King of SGN and also email@example.com with some detailed questions asking how many people took part other than SGN people and when did SGN involve bodies interested in preventing unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, such as CO-Gas Safety?
Stephanie also asked how can SGN tell whether or not someone is vulnerable to carbon monoxide without testing appliances for carbon monoxide (CO)? She also stated, please bear in mind that although visual signs can be helpful surely the only way to be sure is to use testing equipment.
627. Stephanie spent a great deal of time preparing the Press Pack 2020 marking the charity’s 25th Anniversary. We had hoped we’d only be needed for a few years!
As part of this work Stephanie has compiled a list of all the organisations that spent time working to reduce deaths and injuries from unintentional carbon monoxid poisoning, other products of combustion and other gas dangers. Deaths do seem to have reduced but until every dead person is tested for carbon monoxide, nobody can be sure how many deaths are caused by CO.
It is shocking how many bodies were set up and had meetings, yet how little action has been taken. The organisations and people are listed but if anyone knows of another body please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Efforts made and groups set up to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning over the years
In chronological order:-
VIGIL Set up by Sue Slipman then chair of the Gas Consumers Council before 2000.
The All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group
In 1999 Fraser Kemp MP tabled a ten minute Fuel Safety Bill https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1999-02-23/debates/e5b7c51a-72f4-4ac2-9b7a-ab7eeaed0195/FuelSafety
HSE – Recommendations made in 2000 after a fundamental review of gas safety which started in 1997.
Work groups set up by HSE to discuss the implementation of the recommendations. The problem was the lack of funds to put the recommendations into action.
Evidence was taken by Barry Sheerman MP in July 2006 in a select committee style procedure. He described safety in the gas industry as in ‘the ice age and Neandertha’l compared to cars.
Review for HSE undertaken by Frontline in 2007.
COCAA – The carbon monoxide Consumer Awareness Alliance About 2007-2010
In our opinion this failed because it was not a legal person and had no funds.
All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group until it renamed itself the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group in about 2012
https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/appcog/home Mission Statement ‘The All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) is the leading forum for Parliamentarians to discover, discuss and promote ways of tackling carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK.’
The All Fuels Action Forum – industry led launched in 2012 with the two wealthy charities, the Gas Safety Trust and Gas Safe Charity as members of the steering group. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Monoxide_All_Fuels_Action_Forum
The best result of all these meetings in our opinion were the recommendations made by Baroness Finlay in 2011 ‘Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning’ please see https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/appcog/sites/site_appcog/files/report/329/fieldreportdownload/preventingcopoisoningreport.pdf followed up by further recommendations in 2015, called ‘From Awareness to Action’ see https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/research/carbon-monoxide-awareness-action
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, require that smoke alarms be installed on every storey of a rented property and that carbon monoxide detectors be installed in any room housing a solid fuel combustion appliance. But most rental property and all owner occupied property were excluded.
September 2017 Eddie Hughes MP tabled a ten minute rule bill with regard to making CO alarms mandatory in all rented properties whatever the fuel. But he later withdrew his bill on the promise of a review. We are not aware that anything is planned.
Debate in the House of Lords December 2018 https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2018-12-17/debates/FB0CE962-2730-47BD-BD35-BC36D60BED9A/HomesGasSafety
626. 18.12.19 Stephanie received the SGN Roundtable report and took a great deal of time writing a response to SGN which was finally sent 05.01.20.
625. 11.12.19 We heard Cadent will fund an initial trip to Jersey to launch the CO awareness competition and will pay for Emmi Isham to train people over in Jersey to give the talks to the schools so they can take over in subsequent years, Stephanie and Margaret Jeffery are delighted.
624. 02.12.19 Stephanie after spending a great deal of time consulting with the work group sent CO-Gas Safety’s submission about RIIO-2 to Phil Burrows of Cadent.
623. 27.11.19 Stephanie Trotter and Roland Johns, CO-Gas Safety’s expert in gas had a phone conference with Matthew Pearson, Jonathan Brearley’s assistant. Jonathan Brearley is the CEO of Ofgem. Stephanie and Roland wanted to explain the difficulties survivors have who mostly can’t prove exposure to CO. We wanted to talk about RIIO-2. Before the meeting I had sent an agenda of topics and also the following:-
Last Friday we were kindly invited to a GDN stakeholder group on RIIO 2 which was interesting particularly when the presenter stated that their job on the gas emergency service was to ‘make safe’. Almost everyone present were gas people who we knew had been in the industry for decades. I felt the presence of the ‘elephant in the room’ of no testing. I felt that everyone there seemed to me to understand, (after Muggins had pointed this out), how in reality it is almost impossible to make safe when no testing of gas appliances has been undertaken, no CO alarms or monitors are left and after the gas is cut off, someone is left in a house to deal with organising and paying for the appliances to be serviced and put back on, let alone having the gas appliances tested to find out how many parts per million the person concerned has been exposed to. This is especially the case when the person concerned has been severely poisoned but is still conscious and seems superficially fine, and/or a tenant, and/or very poor or has other issues.
Today I’ve just received a case study from the wife of a person who sells data loggers for various things including CO. She was poisoned for weeks by a boiler in a doctor’s surgery/office where she worked. She was subsequently tested for every possibly affliction known to the medical profession but had not been tested for CO. The thought of the cost of these many investigations falling so unnecessarily on the NHS, hit me with fresh frustration. I do understand that Ofgem is not the NHS but sadly such divisions don’t help to deal with a problem in everyone’s best interests.’
622. 22.11.19 Meeting at an SGN stakeholder meeting. Stephanie, Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane attended. A good meeting and the facilitator was excellent. However, there still seems to be a reluctance to take action over what victims need most, which is testing of gas appliances for CO. Indeed, the testing of appliances and the providing of parts per million of CO when found, seemed to Stephanie and Paul to be the elephant in the room which most ignored. Without testing the gas appliance victims can’t know they are safe and can’t know how many parts per million of CO they could have been exposed to. However, the excellent news is that trials are going ahead in Oxford using flue gas analysers to test for CO. We are delighted if this really occurs and if appliances are reconnected ideally where safe, before any work has been done on them to change the evidence.
With regard to the document, we were given two days to respond to quite a long document (29 pages) sent by Louise Lee on the 18th December with regard to this meeting. This document had page numbers but there were no numbered paragraphs (as the civil service used to do) so I had to copy quite a bit of text before I could respond. This was horribly near Christmas to work on such a document but having obtained a few days grace, we were able to do this. We do hope we receive a response. We have also asked about a document published in January 2018 but which we only heard about in Autumn 2019.
This document was about the data from visits by the gas emergency service. We think this document shows how vital it is to use equipment to test gas appliances for CO and provide parts per million of CO when found in writing.
621. 05.11.19 Stephanie and Paul Overton went to Coventry for an APPCOG stakeholder meeting.
620. 29.10.19 Richard Banks visited Stephanie in Guildford to do various things on the website and on the computer.
622.214.171.124 Jennifer Wood visited Stephanie on the Isle of Wight to discuss the database and also the press pack.
618. 09.10.19 Stephanie met Frank for lunch to discuss issues of mutual interest including the Gbangbola case. I owe him lunch next time.
617. 07.10.19 Stephanie met Linda, Margaret Jeffery’s cousin who lives in the Isle of Wight. We discussed how to raise awareness in Jersey and the Isle of Wight. Stephanie hoped Wales & West would consult CO-Gas Safety about their application to Ofgem.
616. 25.09.19 Stephanie met with Phil Burrows and Hayley Tranter of Cadent to discuss their Ofgem application. Jonathan Kane also attended. A very good discussion was had. Stephanie then met Belinda Goldsmid and we travelled to the Danubius hotel to meet Edan Adan Ismail to discuss FGM and CO education in Somaliland. We met her delightful friend Farah Adan and we all discussed how we could help each other.
615. Stephanie wrote an article for Air Quality News published 16.09.19
614. 11.09.19 Launch of Gas Safety Week. Jonathan Kane and Stephanie Trotter attended an event at the Houses of Parliament to launch this event. It was well attended and a success although in Stephanie’s opinion it was a shame there wasn’t more education and awareness raised of those who do not know about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
613.11.07.19 GDN prize giving event at the House of Commons.
612. 28.06.19 Stephanie attended a meeting at House of Commons of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group with Ofgem’s Jonathan Brearley before he was appointed CEO. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the £30 million that Ofgem proposed giving in a ‘use it or lose it’ grant to the GDNs for various purposes such as vulnerable consumers, fuel poverty and CO. Jonathan was extremely kind and listened to Stephanie’s concerns about lack of awareness and the lack of ability of First Call Operators from the gas emergency service to test gas appliances for CO. Stephanie was supported by Avril Samuel of the Katies Haines Memorial Trust. Jonathan kindly dropped Stephanie a line by email after the meeting and Stephanie sent Jonathan an email in return outlining CO-Gas Safety’s concerns that around 4 million people were being exposed to dangerous levels of CO in the UK yet little was being done. I also informed Jonathan that on the way out of this meeting I talked with his colleague Mary Starks, who kindly walked over the bridge with me. I told her that the gas emergency service (GDNs) don’t carry or use equipment to test appliances for CO and she seemed shocked. Mary said it seemed to her, as she put it, ‘counter intuitive’. I agreed.
611. Stephanie continued to try to help a Council tenant in Enfield who really needs a lawyer. She also worked to help other victims as well as the Gbangbola family. She also looked into applying for funding for CO-Gas Safety but all the bodies offering funding seemed to exclude data collection, collation and publication and victim support.
610. 11.07.19 Stephanie attended the GDN prizegiving event with Olivia Murray, another CO-Gas Safety trustee. Hugely successful event which was very well organised. Everyone seemed to greatly enjoy the event.
609. 21.06.19 Webinar chaired by Wendy Weidner, Research and Policy Project Lead of Alzheimer’s Disease International.
Stephanie took part in this webinar
Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oftlmH0958A&feature=youtu.be
Stephanie had sent in a question about whether pollution caused/contributed to Alzheimer’s. This was answered by Neerja Chowdhary, who said there were insufficient studies.
Kate Swaffer, Chair, CEO & Co-founder, Dementia Alliance International (DAI)
Professor Miia Kivipelto, Professor in Clinical Geriatrics at the Karolinska Institute and senior geriatrician at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm.
Neerja Chowdhary, Technical Officer in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization (WHO)
Professor Kaarin Ansteym, Senior Principal Research Scientist at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and member of the World Health Organisation Guideline Development Group cognitive decline and dementia
Paola Barbarino, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI)
Stephanie then sent some studies in to Wendy, http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Destination+brain%3a+inhaled+pollutants+may+inflame+more+than+the+lungs.-a0227652701 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706265/ which found that the dementia incidence was 1.6-fold higher in the CO exposed cohort than in the non-exposed cohort. Stephanie also tried to send these to Neerja Chowdhary and asked Wendy to send them on to Neerja.
Stephanie also tried to persuade Wendy to ask Dr Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas to speak at the upcoming conference by ADI. She has written another interesting article https://news.umt.edu/2018/04/041318alzh.php Evidence Mounts for Alzheimer’s, Suicide Risks Among Children, Young Adults in Polluted Cities April 3, 2018.
608. 17.06.19 Stephanie met with Jennifer Wood our part time data officer in Portsmouth.
607. 04.06.19 Stephanie had a meeting with Frank Brehany to discuss issues of common interest.
606. 23.05.19 Stephanie had a meeting with Ian McCluskey BEng CEng MIGEM MIMechE, Head of Technical and Policy at IGEM with Roland Johns and Paul Overton. Very pleasant meeting but, in Stephanie’s opinion, no real progress or understanding by Ian of the issues we find so difficult, which is the lack of proof of CO partly at least due to the system making this nearly impossible. Perhaps Ian does understand but either can’t, or won’t take action.
605.15.05.19 Stephanie attended an IGEM awards lunch because Ben Kuchta was likely to win and did win an award. Ben couldn’t attend as he was on his honeymoon. Stephanie was glad she had attended as when the audience realised Ben wasn’t going to be there to pick up the award, they booed. However, Stephanie was able to tell the announcer that he was on his honeymoon and the boos turned into cheers. Stephanie was kindly sponsored for this awards ceremony by Flueshoe. Stephanie took every opportunity to tell everyone about Flueshoe – such a simple idea and gadget to make sure that the flue with an inner flue as well as an outer flue is correctly cut and left are the correct length. If the inner flue is not long enough the air intake will be polluted by the products of combustion.
Stephanie took the opportunity to have a catch up meeting with Jonathan Kane who very kindly took her out to tea.
604. 25.04.19 CO-Gas Safety finally had a meeting with HSE at 2.30 p.m.
HSE offices at 151 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SZ
Notes of the meeting were sent on 03.05.19 and we have received a response finally on 23.09.19.
We did not find the response helpful.
Attendees from HSE were John Rowe, Head of manufacturing and utilities, policy and operations.
Lyndsey Baldwin, Policy Advisor | Manufacturing and Utilities Unit, works for John. Lyndsey is also the HSE liaison for the cross departmental committee.
David Lefever (by phone), Lead on smart meters.
Attendees from CO-Gas Safety were
Stephanie Trotter – Director/Trustee
Paul Overton – Director/Trustee
Ben Kuchta – Gas engineer (by phone) – registered for 10 years. Quantic
Sue Westwood – Director/trustee couldn’t attend as she was having an X ray due to ongoing CO medical issues.
Honesty and openness and what we hoped to gain from the meeting.
Everyone expressed a wish for an honest discussion.
Paul wanted change, more lives saved, less illness and poisoning, more prevention and victim support.
Ben said he was in the middle of it and bringing up things all the time that needed to be changed.
Measuring the output/success of the charity
We thought this topic somewhat unfair since most of the changes we have been lobbying for since 1995 are not within the charity’s gift or it seems, influence.
In our notes we pointed out the data we collect, collate and publish and the victim support from 1995 and ongoing. We also pointed out the course we’ve provided for RGEs to understand CO from all fuels after three unintentional CO deaths from petrol generators by RGEs one of the deaths being a RGE. We also informed the HSE officials that CO-Gas Safety had won ‘Safety Initiative of the Year 2017’ for this course.
Recommendations made by HCC/E in 2000
A levy on the gas suppliers to raise awareness of the dangers of CO and for research and
That the gas emergency service carry & use equipment to test gas appliances for CO.
Neither has been implemented.
8.2 and 8.5 policies of the Gas Safe Register
8.2 In the case of a tenant 8.2 prevents the GSR inspector testing a gas appliance for CO without a landlord’s permission.
8.2 which states the following:-
‘If you are a tenant, we will seek permission from your landlord before undertaking our
investigation. However, if you do not wish to engage your landlord, we will only be able
to conduct a visual inspection of the installation. Whilst we accept your request this will
limit the extent and effectiveness of our investigation into your complaint.
Note: Where we identify gas related safety defects we may be obliged to inform your
landlord or their agent, where known.’
In the House of Lords debate in December 2018 https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2018-12-17/debates/FB0CE962-2730-47BD-BD35-BC36D60BED9A/HomesGasSafety
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath had stated that this was discriminatory to tenants and we could agree.
HSE admitted this was not fit for purpose
There are two issues:-
1.The need to make sure landlords comply with the law with regard to keeping appliances and their flues etc. in a safe condition and the need to ensure the landlords obtain a landlord’s gas safety certificate and
2.The mandatory requirements in law for a gas safety check to be carried out and the few prosecutions.
CO-Gas suggested that Gas Tag could help with both RIDDOR and making sure landlords fulfilled their duties and could be prosecuted more easily if they had not.
We further pointed out the lack of a legal requirement to use analysing equipment for CO when undertaking a landlords’ gas safety check.
Need to protect smart meter providers from CO exposure and the near death of a First Call Operator from the emergency services who are now all provided with Personal Alarm Monitors for CO. Yet the risk for smart meter changers is far higher because at least if a customer calls the gas emergency service s/he is told to turn off the appliances and open the windows. This is not the case with meter changers.
Algorithm used by GPs where patient is suspected to be suffering from exposure to CO – please see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485581/CO_diagnosis_algorithm_2015.pdf
page 1 Box 4
If the patient does not improve:
• contact the NPIS for advice
• contact your local PHE centre for advice
• reconsider diagnosis
There is basically no provision for an investigation of whether or not there is CO in the home.
Testing the person is very unreliable because CO quickly leaves the body of a survivor.
Cross departmental committee.
Could Stephanie address this committee? Could Lyndsey please raise the algorithm with this committee?
603. 19.02.19 Stephanie had a meeting with Chris Bielby and Roland Johns to discuss GETSI and the fact that the ACS course doesn’t cover CO with regard to fuels other than gas due to the three deaths our data had found please see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/information/gas-installers/ It has taken about a year to achieve this meeting.
602. Stephanie arranged for Paul Overton to attend the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps conference and dinner on the 02.03.19. Stephanie could not attend as she was going on holiday the following day. The Guild raised an amazing £1,905 for CO-Gas Safety. The charity is very grateful.
601. 13.02.19 Stephanie had a meeting with Kye Gbangbola and Frank Brehany.
600. 19.02.19 Stephanie had a meeting with Chris Bielby, Paul Overton and Roland Johns to discuss GETSI. This seemed a successful meeting.
599. 22.01.19 Stephanie met Jonathan Kane to discuss the charity.
598. 15.01.2019 Stephanie met Alina Congreve to discuss whether the database could be subject to a PhD undertaken by Stephanie.
597. 12.01.19 Stephanie met with Emmi Isham to watch a ‘Safety Seymour’ talk being given at High Wych primary school. Stephanie was very impressed by Emmi and the class teacher who had a very lively class!
596. Stephanie prepared the Press Pack 2019. Gathered case studies and data which had been prepared by Jennifer Wood. Wrote report etc. A great deal of time was spent with the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps developping their protocol. This basically involves not sweeping the chimney if this means the evidence is destroyed.
595. Stephanie prepared the Press Pack 2019. Gathered case studies and data which had been prepared by Jennifer Wood. Wrote report etc. Sue Westwood, Director & Trustee contributed to a British Medical Journal article about hidden illnesses published in 2019 with Dr James Ashcroft. https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l2299
594. Stephanie prepared the review of the year 2017-18 – our year for our accountant is from 01.08. to 31.07. While preparing this review Stephanie asked our database officer to provide a report on the database.
CO-Gas Safety Database of Incidents – improvements in 2017-2018
During this period the database has continued to be improved. We have continued to monitor the press and other sources to ensure that we are informed of as many accidental carbon monoxide-related deaths as possible, both recent and historical cases.
This year we have contacted every Coronial Office in England and Wales to enquire about any relevant recent fatalities, in case there have been any not brought to our attention by the media. We are also confident that we now have documentation for all possible cases in Scotland and Northern Ireland that the authorities still hold records for.
We currently have some form of official confirmation (Coronial documents, appliance or incident inspection reports, death certificate etc) of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning for over 90% of the fatalities that we hold on our database. This includes deaths of UK citizens overseas and so is a figure of which we are proud. The remaining cases have sufficient press coverage of the incident or inquest, to give us no doubt that they fall within our remit.
There has been significant work done this year to more thoroughly document the cases of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning of UK citizens whilst overseas. This has resulted in the removal of four victims from the database (2 whose UK inquest could not ascertain CO poisoning beyond doubt and 2 who we suspect were never repatriated to the UK and thus we cannot locate relevant documentation. Since their deaths date back to the early stages of CO-Gas Safety’s existence, little hope remains of being able to confirm such cases abroad and we therefore prefer to remove them than jeopardise the integrity of our data.)
Our research methods and documentation have improved to the extent that we now hold blood test results showing the level of carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb, an indicator of CO poisoning) for over 45% of all the victims we include in our database. This rises to 79% of all the accidental carbon monoxide fatalities we are aware of that took place over the last ten years (01/09/2008 – 31/08/2018).
Details such as this, alongside greater information regarding CO alarms, appliance details and servicing/installation information will continue to be sought in the coming year for more recent cases, so that we may learn as much as we can from each tragedy.
593. Stephanie and Frank Brehany had a meeting with Thomas Cook on the 13th November to discuss how they now help victims for example, Kelly Ormerod (after her parents died suddenly in Egypt of an unknown cause while on a TC holiday). The charity had hoped that Thomas Cook would be keen to show that it now had policies and protocols that allowed independent people or charities to assist victims such as Kelly. However, it seemed that more that needs to be done. The difficulty is in obtaining lists of such independent people, experts, charities and/or lawyers to be provided to distressed families at the earliest possible point, in particular to ensure that evidence can be preserved. The charity is indebted to Harry Rogers, expert gas engineer and independent court witness who at the family’s expense, went to Corfu in 2006 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragic deaths of Christi and Bobby Shepherd. In the charity’s opinion, without Harry’s action, as well as the courage, determination and resources of the parents, the facts of the case would never have emerged.
592. On the 12th November, Stephanie had a telephone conference with HSE. Paul Overton and Ben Kuchta were also kindly on the line and joined in the conversation. The HSE was represented by Lyndsey Baldwin, Policy Advisor, Manufacturing and Utilities and John Rowe, Head of Manufacturing and Utilities Unit and one other Oonagh Newcomen . The main purpose seemed to be to persuade CO-Gas Safety to stop from making Freedom of Information requests as we were told we had made nine in one year. However, the HSE kindly stated it will provide much of the information requested proactively in future, which is good and to everyone’s benefit.
Meanwhile the charity expressed its concern about the Gas Safe Register’s policy with regard to landlords and tenants see 578 above.
Stephanie also asked if the charity could have a meeting with someone at HSE responsible for smart meters. Ben Kuchta supported Stephanie’s concerns about smart meter changes and said that too many appliances are being marked ‘At Risk’ or ‘Immediately Dangerous’ because the operatives don’t have the experience or equipment to test them. Paul Overton asked the HSE to contact the Registered Gas Engineer magazine and suggest that meter changers buy their own Personal Alarm Monitor for CO if their employers would not do this.
Stephanie asked what happened to the RIDDOR notices and whether these could be made available for research purposes? John Rowe of HSE seemed to offer them to CO-Gas Safety on an ongoing basis. Stephanie said CO-Gas Safety would be delighted to have RIDDOR notices in future, provided the charity had the funding to process them.
591. Stephanie had a good telephone conversation with Dr. Ray Perrin on 25th October.
590. Stephanie was invited to give evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deaths Abroad and Consular Services on the 16th October. Stephanie alerted Frank Brehany, who used to run Holiday Travel Watch for many years and both attended. Sadly the MP Hannah Bardell was held up in Scotland but both Frank and Stephanie spent two hours talking to Hannah’s researchers. This was published November 2019 see https://stv.tv/news/politics/1442082-families-failed-by-foreign-office-over-deaths-abroad/
589. On 12th October Stephanie agreed to the charity and its data being mentioned by Fred Piel of Imperial in an application to the Gas Safety Trust for a collaboration between Imperial College London (SAHSU), Public Health England and CO Gas Safety (Stephanie Trotter).
588. Stephanie wrote an update for the Registered Gas Engineer. This is intended to be published in December.
587. During September and October Stephanie helped a number of CO victims and wrote to the COmed group about their predicament which is that they can’t seem to find any medical help. Stephanie wrote to Isabella Myers of COmed asking for help for these victims. A response was received and sent out on 20.11.18.
586. 20.09.18 Stephanie met Beverley Squires and Jennifer Wood CO-Gas Safety’s database officers in Portsmouth. We discussed various issues and particularly an initiative to further inspect our database.
585. Stephanie’s article about the silent killer and how to prevent it was published in Gi magazine in September.
584. 09.10.18 Jennifer Wood attended a meeting at Western Power and distributed quite a number of our press packs.
583. Sue Westwood, CO victim and CO-Gas Safety trustee kindly attended the launch of Gas Safety week on behalf of the charity on the 12th September. Stephanie was unable to attend.
582. After the meeting Roland Johns sent his course (for registered gas engineers on carbon monoxide from all fuels) to Georgina Bailey and Oona Muirhead. CO-Gas Safety was not invited to provide input but followed up the meeting on the 2nd August by sending some input, by sending several emails to Oona and Georgina. The charity also forwarded correspondence sent to the CEO of the Gas Safe Register dated 22.05.18.
581. 02.08.18 Meeting with Oona Muirhead and Georgina Bailey of Policy Connect on the 2nd August with Stephanie Trotter and Roland Johns about several issues but mainly our difficulty with regard to obtaining any input into GETSI. Oona welcomed the input of Roland Johns. Stephanie also put forward that the panel was very unrepresentative being only men of a certain age and no representatives from ordinary gas engineers, CO victims, women or LBGT. We queried why Roland Johns was not on the panel but in our opinion, didn’t seem to receive a satisfactory response or explanation.
Also discussed was the policy of the Gas Safe Register for consumers with regard to tenants namely 8.2. Please see https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/media/2376/consumer-policy-our-services-explained_v61.pdf and for tenants see 8.2 which says the following:-
‘If you are a tenant, we will seek permission from your landlord before undertaking our investigation. However, if you do not wish to engage your landlord, we will only be ableto conduct a visual inspection of the installation. Whilst we accept your request this will limit the extent and effectiveness of our investigation into your complaint.
Note: Where we identify gas related safety defects we may be obliged to inform your landlord or their agent, where known.’
This policy alerts landlords to the fact that tenants may be being poisoned by CO and the result is that the appliance is (in the experience of CO-Gas Safety) often either repaired or taken to the dump which means that the tenant has no proof of CO. What is more many registered gas installers seem to interpret the Gas Safe Register’s policy as applying to them as well. The problem with this is that less proof of CO means that there appears to be less cases of CO than there actually might be and therefore Government and industry are led to assume that CO is a small issue whereas the charity considers CO to be an issue and health problem that affects a very large number of people.
580. Throughout the year (from last August) Stephanie has been working to help a Council tenant. This tenant has been paying rent but is without central heating and hot water for around a year. This is the first such case that has dragged on – usually it is enough to write to the MP concerned and perhaps have a chat with the Council and things are resolved at least on the gas safety front. This has taken up a lot of time and Stephanie has persisted because there may still be outstanding safety issues with the meter and the gas pipes although the meter has been capped. Stephanie has received real support from one gas installer who is qualified under CMDDA 1 and is very grateful.
579. After numerous emails starting in January 2018 we finally managed to obtain a meeting with Georgina Bailey of APPCOG about GETSI and also about Eddie Hughes’ bill and landlords’ duties and CO generally. This has been fixed for the 2nd August. Roland Johns and Paul Overton are planning to attend with Stephanie. Stephanie has been working on an Agenda.
578. 28.06.18 Stephanie attended the prize giving event at Portcullis House in the Attlee suite. Very happy, successful and well organised event. Tom Bell told Stephanie that he’d given the CO-Gas Safety course on CO to some refugees and many had lost people they knew to CO. Stephanie also chatted to Emmi Isham the PR for Cadent who has invented ‘Safety Seymour’ a teddy bear to teach primary school children about CO. Stephanie raised the issue of getting in touch with the United Nations and the need to raise awareness of CO in refugee camps. She then tried all possible contacts such as our patron Lord Hunt. Barry Sheerman MP suggested Stephanie would like to send more PQs which Stephanie did after the prize giving. Stephanie contacted Phil Burrows and Tom Bell about the United Nations and also asked Tom to write up the talk he gave. Phil Burrows agreed to see whether he could interest his PR people in such a project. Stephanie was delighted.
577. 25.05.18 In the afternoon Stephanie attended a meeting with Matt Cole of npower, Ben Kuchta representing Registered Gas Engineers and Amy Archer our PR person. Meeting was attended by Audrey Gallacher of Energy UK and Laura Parkes PR of npower. This seemed to be a very helpful and productive meeting.
576.25.05.18 Attended the judging of the CO-Awareness awards with John O’Leary.
575. 24.05.18 Stephanie had a meeting with Frank Brehany and then visited a Council tenant.
574. 02.05.18 Meeting with Dr Ben Croxford, Stpehanie, Jos Bell, Albert Donnay with Paul Overton.
573. 25.04.18 Meeting with the Chief Coroner, His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft, with Stephanie, Jenny Wood, Beverley Squire and Olivia Murray. Very helpful meeting and need to collect more data discussed. Stephanie thanked the Chief Coroner for his help and his time. A great deal more further work and thought has been undertaken on the data.
572. 26.03.18 Meeting with Eddie Hughes MP with Irma O’Leary and housing civil servants & pick up of New Law Journal with Stephanie’s article in it on the way there.
571. 14.03.18 Stephanie attended an IGEM lecture 568. 20.03.18 Meeting with Jenny Wood to discuss the database in Portsmouth.
570. Press pack 2018 completed and published. Most were sent to the Guild of Master Sweeps to hand out at their conference.
569. Work undertaken on the press pack 2018. 565. 24.01.18 BEIS meeting re smart meters meeting Stephanie with Paul Overton and John Courtney with Ian McKenzie. Officials seemed to refuse to consider risks of CO poisoning to meter changers despite the provision of PAMs to First Call Operators.
568. 17.01.18 Meeting with Ian McCluskey of IGEM and Barry Matthews of OPGO with Stephanie and Paul Overton to discuss GETSI.
567. 11.01.18 Meeting with Wates the builders between Stephanie, Olivia Murray and Jim Lambeth.
566. 13.12.17 Stephanie organised and attended a meeting between Ofgem and the GDNs with Paul Overton and Frank Brehany present. The cost of a PR campaign to raise awareness was discussed but was not met with approval. Sadly the person responsible for consumer issues at Ofgem Anthony Pygram did not attend. CO-Gas Safety argued that cost of prime time TV warnings in N. Ireland was less than £500,000 and that although this might be some millions if upscaled to England, Scotland and Wales this would still save lives and preserve health and be well worth doing. Sadly CO-Gas Safety’s arguments did not seem to prevail. Incredible when smart meters cost billions!
565. 11.12.17 Stephanie attended the Utility Awards with her husband having been invited by the GDNs.
564. 28.11.17 Stephanie attended the National Energy Action report launch.
563. 21.11.17 Stephanie attended the IGEM CO conference.
562. 14.11.17 Stephanie Trotter had a meeting with Bob Seely MP with Paul Overton in order to request Bob’s help for MP Eddie Hughes’ bill. Bob later assured Stephanie of his support.
561. 07.11.17 Stephanie Trotter attended an APPCOG meeting.
560. 30.10.17 Meeting of Stephanie Trotter and Roland Johns with Mike Flower and Laura Ayres re Eddie Hughes’s bill.
559. 24.10.17 Meeting of Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane with Lord Hunt. Lord Hunt kindly agreed to send letters drafted by Stephanie.
558. 20.10.17 Meeting at Imperial with Stephanie Trotter, Jenny Wood and Beverley Squire with Fred Piel to inspect and discuss database.
557. 16.10.17 Meeting of Stephanie Trotter and Irma O’Leary with Eddie Hughes MP.
556. 11.10.17 Stephanie Trotter attended an APPCOG meeting of the medical committee.
554. 10.10.17 Meeting of Stephanie Trotter with database officers in Portsmouth.
553. 09.10.17 Meeting of Stephanie Trotter with Richard Bruce and Frank Brehany
552. 09.10.17 Sue Westwood, Director & Trustee of CO-Gas Safety made a video for the Project Shout website.
551. 15.09.17 Stephanie received a letter from Adrian McConnell dated 13.09.16 in which both funding applications to the GDNs for £2,000 were refused. 13.09.17 Stephanie Trotter attended launch of Gas Safety Week.
550. 13.09.17 Stephanie attended the launch of Gas Safety Week at the House of Commons where she met Eddie Hughes MP. Eddie Hughes MP gave a speech in support of his ten minute rule bill and thanked CO-Gas Safety and Stephanie and mentioned CO-Gas Safety’s one minute film about Sue Westwood’s experience of being poisoned by CO. The bill passed the first reading. Second reading is to be on the 19th January 2018. Hansard can be read at https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-09-13/debates/7A87C6A4-39BD-4181-98E5-22609C032B50/CarbonMonoxide(DetectionAndSafety)
549. 09.09.17 Stephanie had a meeting with the two database officers in Portsmouth to discuss the database and press pack 2018.
548. 02.09.17 Sue Westwood, director & trustee of CO-Gas Safety did a radio interview with Key 103, one of the main Machenster radio stations and other media including That’s Manchester TV.
547. 01.09.17 Stephanie read that Eddie Hughes MP was putting a ten minute rule bill about carbon monoxide and CO alarms and she wrote to him offering help and background documents. This involved quite a lot of communication and work with Eddie’s researcher.
546. 24.08.17 Stephanie had a meeting with Paul Hellier of UCL, Adrian McConnell and Sophie Duggan to discuss possible research and funding applications. Stephanie prepared two funding applications.
545. 29.06.17 Stephanie attended the prize giving at Portcullis House of the primary schools awareness competition now run by the GDNs. This was enjoyed by all.
544. 20.06.17 Stephanie had a meeting with Adrian McConnell and Jonathan Kane to discuss funding applications.
543. 15.06.17 Sue Westwood attended the women’s networking group Creative Connecting in Cheshire. She also gave an interview on Redshift Radio.
542. 13.06.17 Stephanie finally obtained a meeting with Ofgem after asking for this since June 2016. She had wanted to see the CEO but Attendees were to be:-
Kersti Berge, Partner, RIIO Networks and Head of Ofgem in Scotland
Anthony Pygram, Partner for Consumers and this includes responsibility for domestic suppliers,
Pete Wightman, who works with Kirsti on the gas networks side
Jonathan Kane of Kane International, director/trustee CO-Gas Safety
Stephanie Trotter, OBE, president & director/trustee CO-Gas Safety
Sue Westwood, director/trustee CO-Gas Safety
Frank Brehany, CEO of Holiday Travel Watch interested organisation which has worked with CO-Gas Safety on CO holiday issues for about 20 years.
However, neither Sue nor Frank could make it. Interesting discussions but it seemed to boil down to Ofgem having no power over the suppliers and re the GDNs, Ofgem had decided on RIIO and the discretionary fund and nothing was going to change their views.
Stephanie spent a good deal of time preparing notes and sending documents promised at the meeting and sent these on the 19th June.
541. 08.06.17 Stephanie had a meeting with Jonathan and Sophie Duggan to discuss research and funding proposal.
540. 06.06.17 Stephanie attended the judging event for the GDNs with John O’Leary and then had lunch and a catch up with Frank Brehany.
539. 23.05.17 Kamal Trivedi travelled to the Isle of Wight to see Stephanie to explain his new product for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning particularly in rented properties.
538.05.05.17 Stephanie organised a meeting with Beverley Squire and Jenny Wood in Portsmouth about the database. Very helpful and informative for all concerned.
537. 04.05.17 Stephanie had a meeting with npower with Matthew Cole and Amy Archer and their head of PR Zoe Melarkey and Ridaa Husain. We felt this was a very positive meeting with Zoe obviously moved by Sue Westwood’s film.
536. 24.04.17 Stephanie had a meeting with Sophie Duggan.
535. 20.04.17 Stephanie attended the H & V Awards dinner with Adrian McConnell and Roland Johns. CO-Gas Safety won Safety Initiative of the Year 2017!
534. Sue Westwood attended a party to mark what would have been Kelly Webster’s 40th birthday. Sadly Stephanie could not attend.
533. 10.03.17 Stephanie made an H & V News Awards presentation with Tom Bell of Northern Gas Networks (re the course Roland Johns created to teach registered gas installers about CO from all fuels).
532. 08.03.17 Stephanie attended the H & V Awards party with Olivia Murray (victim).
531. 06.03.17 Stephanie made a presentation to the H and V Awards with John O’Leary (re our poster competition) and Tom Bell of Northern Gas Networks (re the course Roland Johns created to teach registered gas installers about CO from all fuels) for the safety initiative award.
530. 23.02.17 Stephanie made a trip to Bedfont with Olivia Murray (victim) to try to persuade Bedfont to test people especially those in the street to compare with the 8% carbooxyhaemoglobin which Zane had when he died.
529. 22.02.17 Stephanie attended a meeting with Margot James MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy along with Gordon Lishman of the Gas Safe Charity and John McNally MP.
528. 15.02.17 Stephanie attended the Healthy Homes Conference with Belinda Goldsmith (victim).
527. 10.02.17 Stephanie attended a meeting with Kathy Atkinson of the Safer Tourism Foundation and Sophie Duggan and lunch with Sophie afterwards.
526. 01.02.17 Stephanie and Frank Brehany attended a meeting with Michael Tomlinson MP.to discuss his private members’ bill about safer tourism.
525. 26.01.17 Stephanie attended a Sickel Cell event for the Gbangbola family.
524. 18.01.17 Stephanie attended a meeting with npower’s Matthew Cole with Jonathan Kane and Frank Brehany.
523. 17.01.17 Stephanie attended a meeting with Adrian McConnell and Jonathan Kane.
522. During December and January Stephanie prepared Press Pack 2017 and arranged for it to be printed. The Guild of Master Sweeps will hand out copies at their AGM later in the year.
521. 09.01.17 Stephanie sent the submission from CO-Gas Safety to HSE re Gas Safe Register and gas safety generally.
520. During December Stephanie continued to prepare a submission to HSE as well as the press pack 2017.
519. 23.12.16 We heard very good news from Holland regarding mandatory registration of installers.
518. 28.11.16 Stephanie Trotter attended a meeting organised by APPCOG with HSE to discuss the review of Capita and the Gas Safe Register. Stephanie starts to prepare a submission to HSE.
517. 25.11.16 Submitted entries to the H & V Awards.
516. 04.11.16 Stephanie Trotter attended the opening of Kane’s new factory in Welwyn Garden City. Met many interesting people. Was introduced to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark. Jonathan Kane made the point that smart meter installers should wear Personal Alarm Monitors for CO and Stephanie made the point that there were no prime time TV warnings about CO.
515.03.11.16 Roland Johns and Stephanie Trotter met Paul Hellier and Midhat Talibu at UCL and were given a tour of the laboratories. We discussed research.
514. 24.10.16 Stephanie Trotter, Jonathan Kane, Ben Kuchta and Roland Johns met Barry Sheerman at his office at the Houses of Parliament.
1.Introductions and reminder of what CO-Gas Safety does.
2.Awareness – Energy UK and Ofgem
3.Victim support – the need for it and the lack of it.
Stephanie Trotter sent some notes to Richard Denham of Policy Connect and Barry Sheerman MP and is hoping that some action will result.
513. 13.10.17 Stephanie Trotter met another survivor Olivia Murray.
512. 12.10.16 Stephanie Trotter attended an APPCOG meeting at the House of Commons at which our one minute film of Sue Westwood was shown. Sadly the screen was tiny and dark and could hardly be seen. Other survivors attended including Belinda Goldsmid, Dina Gkitziou and Yvonne Yanney. They all spoke well.
511.07.10.16 Stephanie Trotter met Beverley Squires and Jennifer Wood in Portsmouth to discuss the database.
510. 22.09.16 Stephanie Trotter and Frank Brehany of Holiday Travel Watch met with Ben Kuchta to discuss his cut off system and gas safety in general.
509. 22.09.16 Stephanie Trotter and Frank Brehany of Holiday Travel Watch met Belinda Phipps to discuss the Safer Tourism Foundation.
508. 19.09.16 Stephanie Trotter went to Amsterdam with Jonathan Kane and met Albert de Vries MP of the Dutch Labour party and also Peter van Veen, a civil servant of the Building Minister to urge the Dutch government to register gas engineers in the Netherlands.
507.13.09.16 Stephanie Trotter attended the launch of gas safety week at the House of Commons. Before this event there was a prize giving for the winners of the CO awareness competition. The Gas Distribution Networks which have taken over CO-Gas Safety’s schools poster competition (run by the charity from 2006-16) which they have now changed to a CO Awareness competition so that not only posters but also poems, songs, performances and virtually anything can be entered. Initially there was only room for one representative of CO-Gas Safety so Stephanie gave her place to John O’Leary, without which the competition would not have happened as John did all the illustrations for the power point presentation which went to the teachers to inform the pupils about CO.
At the launch a new film by the Katie Haines Memorial Trust was shown. Gordon Samuel gave an excellent and moving speech. He also asked for prime time TV warnings about CO.
Barry Sheerman MP thanked the Katie Haines Memorial Trust and agreed that prime time TV warnings were needed.
Barry Sheerman MP did kindly recognise the work done by CO-Gas Safety.
506. Stephanie Trotter attended the Coroner’s judgement and conclusions of the Zane Gbangbola inquest which were read out in courtThe Coroner found that Zane a healthy seven year old had died of carbon monoxide poisoning although only 8% of carboxyhaemoglobin was found in his blood and this stays stable on death. During the following days Stephanie worked on a submission to the Coroner to assist him with his Rule 28 duty with regard to actions to prevent future deaths. Stephanie gave some background about the charity and its work since 1995 and a request for prime time TV warnings about CO to cover all fuels, all appliances and all types of accommodation. Stephanie also made some suggestions with regard to the hire of petrol pumps and warnings etc.
With regard to the 8% CO Stephanie commented:-
‘In over 21 years of work this is highly unusual. The only case that comes near it was 9% resulting in a plane crash. I am trying to get hold of the air accident report. Your finding of 8% causing death is horrific in that if you look up http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2085044-overview heavy smokers apparently have 10-15% in their blood (and the relevant document was enclosed). However, if 8% in the blood can kill then CO is much more lethal than even we realised.’
505. 05.09.16 Stephanie Trotter attended the last day of the Zane Gbangbola inquest.
504. Stephanie appointed some new trustees of CO-Gas Safety. These are Irma O’Leary, artist and CO survivor, Jim Lambeth, solid fuel and Sue Westwood, franchisor and CO survivor. Stephanie is delighted to have been joined by such dedicated and helpful people.
503. 09.08.16 Stephanie attended a judging session with John O’Leary for the finalist for the competition.
502. 02.08.16 Stephanie met John McNally MP who thought he had been poisoned by CO but probably was poisoned by exposure to a leak of natural gas. Belinda attended too. Very interesting meeting particularly that John’s wife attended and was a health visitor. She said that she recalled families who had been ill just as Belinda’s families had been and perhaps CO was an explanation.
501. 18.07.16 Stephanie attended the official last day of evidence given at the Zane Gbangbola inquest. There was a further day due to more evidence being called.
500. 14.07.16 Stephanie gave a talk about CO to the Local Authority managers of Coroners introduced by His Honour Judge Peter Thornton, the Chief Coroner.
499. Stephanie sent a further letter by special delivery to Mamcop about smart meters and the need for Personal Alarm Monitors for CO for meter changers.
498. 27.06.16 Stephanie attended the judging of the competition with John O’Leary and again on 11.07.16.
497. 14.06.16 Stephanie with her husband John attended the Faculty of Public Health conference for two days in Brighton. Many good contacts were made. Stephanie was interviewed for local radio.
496. 13.06.16 Attended the first day of the Zane Gbangbola inquest.
495.01.06.16 Stephanie attended a conference at Brussels presided over by Linda McAvan MEP. At this she saw an excellent film warning about carbon monoxide made with funding from the Regulator in N. Ireland. On the 4th June she wrote to Ofgem asking for a meeting to do the same in England and Wales.
494.07.06.16 Stephanie was interviewed by Russian TV about the Gbangbola inquest and said that she was ashamed that the family was not given Legal Aid for the inquest as LA can be granted if the inquest is in the public interest, which it clearly is.
493. 07.06.16 Stephanie gave a short talk about CO at Vision an architects’ conference.
492. Stephanie Trotter met Roland Johns to discuss the training course and courses Roland provides.
The courses Roland has given in 2015-16 are:-
18 Aug 2015 for SGN at Portchester. FCO (First Call Operative) apprentices
19 Aug 2015 for SGN at Burgess Hill. FCO apprentices
25 Jan 2016 for NGN at Leeds. Employees and Community Groups
01 April 2016 for NGN at Leeds. Employees and Community Groups
05 May 2016 for NGN at Newcastle. Employees and Community Groups
06 July 2016 for SGN at East Croydon. FCO apprentices
27 July 2016 for SGN at Linlithgow. FCO apprentices
17 August 2016 for SGN at Linlithgow. FCO apprentices
14 October 2016 for SGN at East Croydon. FCO apprentices
491. 11.05.16 Stephanie Trotter attended an APPCOG meeting concentrating on CO dangers abroad. Mark Dingley who had sadly lost his daughter Francesca to CO in China while she was teaching EFL gave a very moving speech and advocated prime time TV warnings about CO. This was echoed by other survivors. Stephanie had a further meeting with Frank Brehany and Mark Dingley afterwards.
490. 25.04.16 Stephanie Trotter attended a two hour APPCOG event ‘CO in the domestic environment’. Had asked that our one minute film could be shown https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/one-survivors-story/ but this was declined due to lack of time.
489. 20.03.16 Drafted petition asking for prime time TV warnings about carbon monoxide.
488. 06.03.16 Sue Westwood attended the Guild of Master Sweeps dinner and event and gave a speech thanking the Guild for their incredible generosity in providing a cheque for CO-Gas Safety of £1,225.
487. 22.02.16 Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane had a meeting with the Chief Coroner, His Honour Judge Peter Thornton attended by Trotter, Frank Brehany, Jonathan Kane and Beverley Squire, database officer.
486. 16.02.16 Meeting with Dr Jayne Donegan.
485. 09.02.16 Meeting with Margaret Ritchie MP who has kindly agreed to be our SDLP MP and perhaps find us a Lib Dem and Labour MP now Rosie Cooper MP has resigned.
484. 08.02.16 Attended a memorial event for Zane Gbangbola.
483. 02.02.16 Appointment with USA lawyers Vititoe Law Group to have a telephone conference at their expense due to a leak of natural gas in California. Interesting conversation.
481. 26.01.16 Collected new 2016 press packs from Prontaprint.
480. 21.01.16 Met Tom Woolley in London. Tom is an Irish architect and someone in Ireland recommended me to him and he is keen to help. He has kindly introduced Margaret Ritchie MP to us.
479. 18.01.16 Stephanie Trotter, Jonathan Kane and Frank Brehany of Holiday Travel Watch met Peter Fankhauser and Alice Macandrew of Thomas Cook.<
478. 19.01.16 Attended a select committee at the House of Commons.
477. Stephanie worked on the press pack 2016. During January Stephanie asked Sue Westwood if she would agree to a film being made about her and she kindly did so. This was finished in February 2016.
476. Stephanie Trotter and Frank Brehany attended a meeting on 18.12.15 with Energy UK. Sue Westwood-Ruttledge was going to attend but had had an accident the day before so could not attend. Stephanie gave a 15 minute presentation and asked for funding to pay for for prime time TV warnings and funding for CO-Gas Safety to be set up professionally with paid people to continue its valuable work of data collection, collation and publication and victim support and lobbying for safety improvements.
475. Stephanie Trotter and John O’Leary attended the Gas Distribution Networks meeting on the 15.12.15. The competition was discussed and the need for publicity and for summer prize giving events.
474. Stephanie Trotter attended a select committee in order to lobby on 01.12.15. 474. Stephanie Trotter attended a PIR (Pre Inquest Review) to support the Gbangbola family on 07.12.15.
473. Stephanie Trotter attended an ABTA meeting held by Linda MacAvan MEP in Brussels.
472. Stephanie Trotter and Belinda Goldsmid attended a meeting about smart meters 17.11.15.
471. Stephanie Trotter, Gavin Evans from Colemans and Belinda Goldsmid attended the launch of the Safer Tourism Foundation at the House of Commons on the 16th November 2015.
470. Stephanie Trotter and Belinda Goldsmid met some researchers with a view to undertaking research into fumes from barbecue fuel and lighters.
469. On the 28th October 2015 met Frank Brehany and we went to the Cabinet office to deliver another letter based on the letter that Frank had sent in 2012 asking for Public Information Films about CO. We eventually managed to leave the letter with someone from the office and were promised a proper response. As of February 2016 we are still waiting.
468. On the 14th October drove to Derby and stayed overnight to attend the event and presentation at BPEC which was extremely enjoyable and inspiring and concerned awards to people who had improved lives hugely for example in Africa by providing clean water.
467. 14.10.15 Received invitation from Mary Creagh MP to attend an event at the House of Commons on the 16th November 2015.
466. 06.10.15 Received an invitation from John Noble of Thomas Cook to work with the company on prevention. Responded that we would be glad to do so.
465. 05.10.15 Interviewed by BBC Look North about the Coroner’s recommendations in the Corfu inquest. Also had a conversation with David Hinchliff the Coroner about the tragedy and how a similar tragedy could be prevented.
464. Worked on some new research ideas.
463. Worked on the new data.
462. Worked on a protocol for solicitors and sent this to Colemans. This protocol would also help victims.
461. 21.09.15 Received the recommendations from the Coroner in the Corfu case.
460. Worked on the Flyer and the Rules again and corresponded with Danielle Royce to refine them both.
459. Arranged an advert with the Registered Gas Installer Magazine for September, October and November and December.
458.08.09.15 With Belinda we attended the House of Commons to meet Michael Tomlinson MP but he could not make it. However, his researcher Vivian Alle-Dean met us and we put our views across to her.
457. 07.09.15 Attended debate to support Lord Hunt. This was well attended by victims including Sue Westwood-Ruttledge and Belinda Goldsmid. We met Mark Cashin of CFOE there and exchanged contact details. Regulations were not approved so were referred to the whole house where a week later they were approved.
456. 01.09.15 GDN meeting in London. John O’Leary kindly attended with me.
455. 06.08.15 Met Sue Westwood-Ruttledge, a CO victi
454. Worked on a brief for Lord Hunt for the new Regulations on smoke and CO alarms. Also arranged for people to attend the debate and support Lord Hunt and Baroness Finlay.
453. Worked on a new website which is now more iPad friendly.
452.Worked on a new leaflet about CO with John O’Leary.
451 30.07.15 Stephanie sent the final version of the submission to the Coroner in the Corfu case to HM Coroner Mr. David Hinchliff and receipt was acknowledged
450. 30.07.15 Stephanie sent the final version of the submission to the Coroner in the Corfu case to HM Coroner Mr. David Hinchliff and receipt was acknowledged.
449. 21.07.15 Attended a meeting with Mary Creagh MP to talk about CO particularly with regard to tourists.
448. 17.07.15 Attended the AGM of the Guild of Master Sweeps which was a great occasion. Chimney sweeping is often overlooked but is a vital safety precaution. The Guild was incredibly welcoming and raised £1,000 for the charity.
447. 29.07.15 Attended a BPEC interview for the Life Award. We did not win this award but we did receive the assurance that BPEC would work with us and we are invited to attend the ceremony on the 16th October.
446. Stephanie prepared the first draft of a submission to the Coroner in the Corfu case and sent this to the work group, Belinda and Frank Brehany. Stephanie has also worked on a protocol of what should happen after a CO incident abroad on a package holiday and what the tour operator and others should do. Stephanie sent this protocol to the same people as the submission.
445. 03.07.15 Stephanie updated the new flyer and power point presentation for the competition 2015-16 and asked Richard to put them on the website after running them past SGN to make sure the logo was correct. .
444. Stephanie had a long discussion with John O’Leary about the future of the poster competition and what the GDNs had proposed.
443. John O’Leary has judged the 2014-15 schools poster competition and Stephanie has notified the winners and is sending out the prizes.
442. In November 2014 Stephanie heard a very good interview on Radio 4’s Life Scientific with our Cheif Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies. She has been trying to obtain a meeting with her ever since. So far no success but surely Dame Sally should not ignore such a medical issue that affects so many people?
441. 23.06.15 Meeting with Frank Brehany, Holiday Travel Watch.
440. 28.05.15 Meeting with Energy UK with CEO Lawrence Slade and Lesley McCloed. The Corfu case was discussed and the need to raise awareness. Jonathan Kane, Stephanie and Belinda attended.
439. 26.05.15 Stephanie gave a radio interview with Dubai Eye about how to protect against CO when travelling.
438. 11.05.15 Stephanie travelled to Wakefield to attend the Corfu inquest. Stayed for three days. Gave a TV interview to BBC Look North.
437. 27.04.15 Stephanie gave a radio interview about the Corfu tragedy – LBC.
436.26.02.15 Stephanie attended the premier of the film ‘A Dark Reflection’ about cabin air quality. John and Stephanie Trotter had privately supported the making of this film in a very small way. Excellent film about a safety issue which involves carbon monoxide poisoning in aeroplane cabins.
435.25.02.15 Stephanie had a meeting with Frank Brehany Holiday Travel Watch.
434. 24.02.15 Stephanie gave a talk about CO to the Public Policy Exchange.
433. 29.01.15 Gas Safety Trust Portal event ( see http://www.gassafetytrust.org/news-and-press/2015/gas-safety-trust-launches-new-online-carbon-monoxide-portal-resource). Stephanie attended. There seemed to be portals but not much data if any in the portals.
432. 27.01.15 20th anniversary event of CO-Gas Safety at the House of Lords. Well over 100 people atttended. See speeches etc.
431. 22.01.15 Stephanie had a meeting with Lord Hunt and Belinda about her poisoning and about the 20th anniversary event.
430 19.01.15 Stephanie attended an APPCOG meeting ‘From awareness to action’. Baroness Finlay kindly allowed us to view the Executive summary to enable us to comment in our press pack 2015.
429. Stephanie undertook a huge amount of preparation for the 20th anniversary.
428. 18.12.14 It was announced that the CPS has dropped any possible charges against the supplier of the pump which was an alleged possible cause of the alleged carbon monoxide poisoning of Zane Gbangbola although Kye and Nicole Gbangbola have always maintained that Zane died and Kye was paralysed by hydrogen cyanide from a landfill site. See
On the same day attended the Council at Spelthorne where Kye and Nicole presented a petition to the Council asking for the Council to test the landfill site. Kye spoke very persuasively and powerfully. The Council dismissed the petition. Kye and Nicole’s supporters expressed their disgust in the public gallery by holding up placards stating ‘TEST’. There seems every reason that the Council should test the landfill site as a matter of urgency, not only to find out the cause of Zane’s death but to check the landfill site in order to protect the health and safety of Chertsey residents in case of future flooding.
The members of the public who attended this meeting left feeling that there had been a disregard tor safety and for the feelings of those people who attended the meeting who were mostly residents of Chertsey. It did not feel a good day for democracy and surely in such a situation where further flooding could occur and residents injured or killed there seems no reason why the elected members of the Council continued to refuse to test the landfill site. This issue will not go away.
427. Made a presentation for an application for funding for our data to the GDNs (Gas Emergency Service providers) on 16th December 2014 and also for our event at the House of Lords in January and for our press packs for that event and for our schools poster competition. Jonathan Kane and Stephanie Trotter attended and also a victim who gave a very good short talk about her experiences of being poisoned, being unable to prove this to her doctor, husband and to social services, which was concerned about her children who were also poisoned. The meeting was very amicable with expressions of gratitude by Stephanie Trotter to the GDNs for their support and understanding of the issues from the point of view of victims. A promise of funding for the press packs and the 20th anniversary event was kindly made by the GDNs and the outlookseems extremely good with regard to the poster competition although a few further details need to be worked out. The GDNs will come back to CO-Gas Safety with regard to the details and also with regard to the funding for the data collection, collation and publication.
426. Noted the sad death of Tom Henson aged 25, registered gas installer from carbon monoxide it seems from a disposable barbecue
in September 2014. Offered free help and advice to the family through the Grimsby Telegraph and through the Coroner.
425. Sent out invitations to our event at the House of Lords 27th January 2015.
424. End of November submitted a response to an EU document about tourism safety, mainly fire and CO. Supported the submission by Holiday Travel Watch and also suggested that children’s activity holiday centres should be licensed throughout the EU as they were in England & Wales.
423. Stephanie Trotter tried to help victims obtain someone qualified under CMDDA1 and found this again was difficult. Raised this again with the Gas Safe Register.
422. Requested Public Health England to inspect our database and a date arranged for January.
421. 30.11.14 Stephanie Trotter submitted a response to the EU re the Reach legislation querying why all fuels were excluded from the Reach legislation and how that came about.
4126.96.36.199 Stephanie Trotter supported Kye Gbangbola’s petition to the Environment agency.
419. 26.11.14 Meeting with Gary Barnes to discuss many issues. Attended by Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane.
418. 25.11.14 AGM of CO-Gas Safety. Attended by directors and accountants.
417. 21.11.14 Stephanie Trotter sent Activity report to Haley Bowcock of Policy Connect of APPCOG.for the All Fuels Action Forum.
416. Supported a petition to change the law with regard to the right of entry by landlords in social housing to make their rights of entry the same as those of a Local Authorty.
4188.8.131.52 Meeting with Susan Scotcher of Kingston University to review films about CO made by students. The three best films will soon be put on Facebook and people will be invited to vote on the best film. CO-Gas Safety is very grateful to Susan and to Kingston university for this help.
414. 06.11.14 Meeting with Gasfuse a cut off system for gas bottles.
413. 04.11.14 Submitted CO-Gas Safety’s response with regard to smart meters to the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee.
412. 23.10.14 Radio Berkshire to talk about CO and students.
411.. 21.10.10 Supported Kye and Nicole Gbangbola re taking their petition to Chertsey Council.
410. 15.10.14 Meeting with Dr Tim Ballard at the Royal College of GPs with a victim who had been poisoned for over 6 years along with her family. Very good meeting and hopefully progress made although the medical side is so diffcult due to the danger of false negatives from testing the blood or breath of survivors. Testing appliances is amore reliable method but very difficult due to the lack of a list of registered gas installers who are qualified under CMDDA1 and the cost of using an independent court witness who is a gas expert.
409. On 4th October 2014 Stephanie Trotter attended a walk to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide in memory of a girl who died of CO. The walk arranged by the sister of a girl who died of carbon monoxide poisoning and in whose memory we walked Pen-Y-Fan.
On Saturday 4th October 30 people walked to the top of south Wales’s tallest mountain, Pen-Y-Fan an 886m mountain situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales. . This included two 20 month olds, (well they were carried for some of it!) a five year old and a seven year old. The walk was aimed to raise awareness of carbon monoxide and was organised by a girl who lost her sister last year to the carbon monoxide poisoning.
She and all of her family wish to raise awareness so no other family has to go through what they are going through right now. There will be many more events in the future.
Thanks to the huge efforts by friends and family £1,000 was raised for the charity.
Mark Aylett, a chimney sweep from Loughborough and member of the Guild of Master Sweeps did the walk in costume after driving three hours to reach the start and another three hours back afterwards.
Stephanie said, ‘The family gave us a fantastic welcome and organised the walk brilliantly. We were so lucky with the weather which was cool and sunny. Mark helped me so much by his conversation which distracted from my aching legs! His chimney brush attracted many questions from other walkers and we were able to raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and the importance of chimney sweeping, all the way up and down. Scotia Gas Networks was the first emergency service provider to equip their First Call Operators with Personal Alarm Monitors for CO. They are also always willing to talk to us about continued safety improvements and we greatly value that partnership.’
On the peak – Stephanie Trotter on the left and Mark Aylett on the right.
408. Attended the Coroners’ Conference on the 25th and 26th September 2014 at the invitation of the President Peter Dean, Suffolk Coroner. Gave a press pack, hand-out specifically for Coroners and a quiz about CO with answers on the back to each Coroner and was allowed to set up a table and to address the meeting for five minutes. CO-Gas Safety is extremely grateful for this opportunity and also for the meals we were provided with.
Photo taken at the Coroners’ Conference showing CO-Gas Safety material
From left to right, Ian Arrow, Senior Coroner for South Devon and Martin Fleming Senior Coroner for West Yorkshire West who kindly agreed to grace the table of CO-Gas Safety at the Coroners’ conference in Suffolk, Autumn 2014.
CO-Gas Safety is also very grateful to the President of the Coroners’ Society, Peter Dean for allowing the charity to attend and to give a short address to the conference.
407. Over the summer our database has undergone a complete review and transfer from paper files to a computerised system which makes accessibility much easier. Dr. Craggs wrote a full report and validated our latest data.
406. Review of the notepaper and MEPs changed because some were no longer MEPs.
405. Meeting with Frank Brehany to discuss the future of gas safety on 24.09.14.
404. On the 23rd September 2014 as a result of being alerted by retired fire fighter Tom Mills, Stephanie Trotter investigated a website selling generators which featured a film showing generators being used in a living room and kitchen.
Tom had tried to persuade the manufacturer to change the film but with no result.
Stephanie Trotter alerted the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group and Myles Platt of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service about this. Then she telephoned the manufacturer and asked for the name of the person who answered the phone and his email address. Luckily it was a small company. She then explained the situation. The person Stephanie spoke to accepted that the film showed the generators being used indoors but was dismissive and stated that there was a warning which flashed up and anyway nobody would use generators indoors. Stephanie stated that she would look again but she was sure there were no warnings and anyway, why show generators being used indoors?
Stephanie then watched the film again and no warnings flashed up. Stephanie then wrote an email (23.09.14) pointing out that if anyone died as a direct result of using their generator indoors then the person she spoke to and the company could be charged and found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. The warnings were attached to the film within an hour.
Stephanie alerted Baroness Finlay who suggested contacting HSE. Stephanie was then very busy attending the Coroners’ conference but on the 29.09.14 she alerted HSE about Kiam and this video and they assured her in an email dated 07.10.14 that Trading Standards was already in talks with Kiam and that the video would be changed.
Update November 2014 Stephanie has watched the film again and it’s completely different and shows the generators being used outdoors.
CO-Gas Safety is very grateful to Tom Mills for alerting us and for the support we received from Myles Platt on behalf of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association
403. Met Roland Wessling of Cranfield University with Frank Brehany of Holiday Travel Watch on 19.09.14. Purpose of discussion was that Roland wants to use CO-Gas Safety’s data but it seems that although Roland has funding to undertake his research there is no chance of any funding to continue our data collection, collation and publication. Our further concern is that it seems that no thought has been given to how data collected into a central repository is to be controlled either input or output and who would be apppointed to do this. Our concern is to ensure that a victim based organisation continues to have the freedom to publish the data and suggest vital safety improvements from study of the data and that data will not be controlled by any industry dominated body.
402. Attended meeting of the Gas Safe Register to mark Gas Safety Week on 09.09.14.The Gas Safe Register had used our hero idea and told me about this in May but they also used our poster idea although it was only open to children close to registered installers and applauded the registered installer and his work rather than raise awareness generally.
401. Training courses for Scotia Gas Apprentices
Roland Johns (retired British Gas Investigator & trainer and consultant trainer) has run the BPEC certificated CO Awareness Workshop with 40 SGN apprentices (10 at each event) and the course is now part of their training programme.
The dates were: 27 Aug and 16 Sept 2014 Portchester, 28 Aug and 17 Sept 2014 Burgess Hill.
This went very well and hopefully we will be able to add more about this soon.
CO-Gas Safety is very grateful to Gary Barnes, Director of Corporate Services, Scotia Gas Networks for allowing Roland Johns to provide this training about CO and we congratulate SGN on showing in such a practical way that they take CO seriously and wish to protect their employees.
400. TV interview for South today 16.07.14.
399. Met with David Butler of Phoenix Gas (N. Ireland) 06.06.14.
398. Started the process for Dr. Craggs to undertake a review of the data. Dr Craggs visited our database officer Beverley Squires for two days in May.
397. Presentation to the Gas Safety Trust on 20.05.14 to ask for funding for our data collecting, collating and publication. Stephanie Trotter made a presentation supported by victim Helga Hyams, Jonathan Kane (Director) and Roland Johns, (Board of Reference and ex British Gas investigator & Trainer. Felt this had not been very well received although a few questions were at least asked about near misses. However, was told that the GST intends to do its own data and be the one stop shop for CO. Later heard that our application had been refused.
396. 16.05.14 Submission made to the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group when asked to submit evidence see under heading ‘The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group’ or see here.
395. Attended an APPCOG meeting on 12.05.14 discussing whether a home MOT would be the answer. This seemed slightly premature compared with proper prime time TV warnings and would also fail to warn about barbecues and generators.
394. Attended a CO+SAVi meeting 02.05.14.
393. Was contacted by the Gbangbola family referred to us by Inquest.
392. 08.04.14 Attended the Spring Social of APPCOG. Later lobbied to be allowed to be at a meeting on April 24th between the suppliers and the gas emergency service providers and Barry Sheerman MP etc. Suggested that there should be something explaining exactly what CO is and how to prevent it and something from the victim groups. Worked on a power point presentation to be sent to Haley Bowcock of Policy Connect. Haley agreed that we could at least do this. Will our power point presentation be shown? Why is there no room for a representative of CO+SAVi? Avril Samuel of the Katie Haines Memorial Trust is attending but she is attending only as the KHMT.
391. 04.04.14 Made a presentation about our data to the Gas Industry Safety Group. Very successful and they agreed that the data must be funded.
390.March. Arranged for advertorial with First News to publicise the schools poster competition. Kindly sponsored by Honeywell.
389. March. Applied for funding both a small grant for a computer and a large grant to fund our data collection, collation and publication to the Gas Safe Charity. This was refused.
388. Offered support to family of Zane Gbangbola through the police, PHE, HSE, Kwasi Kwateng MP for the death of this child during the floods. Pleaded with all concerned for a cause of death as suspected this might be CO from a generator. No result. Lobbied for warnings about the use of generators in the floods. This seemed to have some effect.
387. 04.02.14 Meeting with Mike Penning MP, DWP Minister, responsible for the HSE and the disabled, attended by Stephanie Trotter, Jonathan Kane and Frank Brehany of Holiday Travel Watch. Very successful meeting.
386. 28.01.14. Very successful House of Lords event. Best ever. Speeches by Lord Hunt, Baroness Finlay, Roland Wessling, Eileen Brown of Northern Gas Networks and Stephanie Trotter see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/postercomp_speeches.html. Prizes presented by Mark Oliver of Wales & West Utilities. Help provided by Danielle Royce and Cerys Canning from Wales & West Utilities was invaluable.
385. 08.01.14 CO+SAVi meeting.
384. 20.01.14 John Trotter took some data boxes from Docusave to Devon for Beverley Squire, our database officer.
383. 27.11.13 Stephanie Trotter attended an event of John and Irma O’Leary’s.
382. 26.11.14 AGM held. Paul and I had dinner with Kevin McMahon an interested registered gas installer.
381. 20.11.13 Meeting with Public Health England to discuss our data. Excellent meeting and PHE seemed very impressed with our data which they would like to have to start the database recommended by Baroness Finlay. Our problem is that we still have no secure funding for our data to continue. Both PHE and CO-Gas Safety agree that there needs to be some body which is in charge of the data and this body needs to have equal representatives from victims and from others, such as industry and government. CO-Gas Safety’s data from 1995 is now extremely valuable and the CO-Gas Safety directors are willing to give this data to such a central body provided the charity can still continue to collect, collate and publish data on an ongoing basis. To do this it needs funding.
380. 12.11.13 Trip to Derby to meet those instructors attending the BPEC’s first course as worked on by Roland Johns and Stephhanie Trotter. Course was well attended and the feedback was excellent. The discussion concluded that the crux of the issue is there is a lack of information for those training to be registered gas installers on CO from fuels other than gas.
379. 06.11.13 Attended John O’Leary’s art exhibition in the Barbican library. Excellent show and very enjoyable. John O’Leary is an illustrator and paper engineer. His help with our schools poster competition and course about CO for registered gas installers has been invaluable to the charity and its work.
378. 05.11.13 Meeting between Stephanie and Colemans’ solicitors.
377. 04.11.13 Meeting with Blue Watch. Stephanie urged Blue Watch to only validate appliances that have been serviced and chimneys and flues swept.
376. Late October to early November 2013. Lobbied Gas Safe Register to make it clearer and easier for consumers to find a registered gas installer qualified under CMDDA1. Wrote two emails about the topic to Russell Kramer pointing out that most consumers don’t know what to ask for and certainly don’t realise they have to do an advanced search and look for ‘fumes investigation’ and then contact the firm to find out who if any of that firm’s employees hold the qualification CMDDA1.
375. 24.10.13 Meeting with Frank Brehany.
374. 08.10.13 CO+SAVi meeting. This was a very constructive meeting with Roland Wessling in the Chair and Steve Miller, Vice-Chair elect of the Steering Group attending. Minutes will be approved at the next meeing on the 8th January.
373. 05.09.13 Move of CO-Gas Safety from Lorien, Common Lane, Claygate to Priory Cottage South, Priory Road, Seaview, Isle of Wight PO34 5BU due to Stephanie moving house. However, we still have a flat in Guildford for work events in London.
372. 01.08.13 Meeting with National Grid with Jeremy Bending and Steve Holliday.
This was to ask for funding for CO-Gas Safety’s data on unintentional death and injury from carbon monoxide since 1995. We tried to point out that CO-Gas Safety’s data:-
1. Has been collected since 1995.
2. Has some kind of report, or Coroner’s letter to support every entry.
3. Collects CO incidents and deaths from ALL Fuels.
4. Tries to check every death with the Coroner concerned and most now help.
5. Publishes the names of the dead on the Internet for anyone to check.
6. Is the only data to have been validated by a statistician, Dr. Craggs.
7. Has had almost 18 years of input from a victim based organisation that simply seeks the truth.
8. Has a form on our website for the Coroner to fill up after the inquest and which we encourage them to look at before the inquest in order to think about what evidence they need to call at the inquest (e.g. was there a CO alarm and was it to EN 50291, was it in date and did it work?).
No other body does all this.
We know that our data is only the tip of an iceberg. One reason is that GPs almost never diagnose CO and another is that there is no automatic testing of dead bodies for CO, even in cases of unexplained deaths. There are estimated to be 3,500 unexplained deaths between the ages of 16 and 64 in the UK every year (Killer with no name, New Scientist December 4th 2004).
National Grid declined to assist with our data but were happy to support our schools poster competition to raise awareness of the dangers and were happy to provide a donation towards the charity generally. This is very good news as we now have the support of all four gas emergency service providers!
371 Numerous applications for funding for our data particularly to the Gas Safety Trust. All have been refused for various reasons The Gas Safe Charity has decided as a policy not to undertake research leaving this to the Gas Safety Trust. The Gas Safety Trust have decided to do their own data collection and cover all fuels but they have said this before some years ago and so far, not done this. It also seems such a waste to reinvent the wheel. CO-Gas Safety also considers it important that a victim based organisation is involved in this work. The GST has no victims that we know about on its board. Nor does the GSC as far as we know.
370. 16.07.13 APPCOG meeting on landlords (private).
369. 11.07.13 IGEM conference in Derby. Excellent conference. Awareness discussed and all seemed to us to be in favour of prime time TV public health warnings. The other toxins were discussed.
368. 02.07.13 Baroness Finlay put down her amendments at the House of Lords.
367. Meeting of CO+SAVi 25.06.13
Amendments to the Energy Bill were discussed. Also code of governance. Roland Wessling gave a presentation of his research projects. It was decided that he would attend the steering group meeting on the 2nd July in order to make a presentation to the Steering committee. Questions were asked about who advised Baroness Finlay with regard to her amendments.
366. 18.06.13 Received Baroness Finlay’s amendments. Members of CO+SAVi wished for a joint response to be made. Stephanie Trotter compiled these and sent for approval. These were then sent to Baroness Finlay and later Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (26.06.13).
365 12.06.13 APPCOG meeting about social housing. Stephanie Trotter attended and was impressed by the landlords who had provided CO alarms. Many sounded and qualified gas investigators were used. Cookers were often the cause. Stephanie Trotter suggested changing to electric cookers to cut down on poisoning and expensive investigations.
364. 04.06.13 APPCOG Holiday Safety meeting. Chris Bielby suggested that there be a repository for material such as the posters by CO-Awareness to warn about camping dangers. Stephanie Trotter supported this idea and congratulated CB for suggesting this. Signage was discussed and the words used.
363.30.05.13 Meeting with Roland Johns to discuss the material he and Stephanie Trotter have put together for training colleges about CO.
362. Two amendments were put down in the House of Commons. One by Barry Sheerman MP on meter exchanges including smart meters and one by Mike Hancock MP about the levy on the fuel industry to pay for raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. They were not debated although Barry did say a few words about smart meters.
361. 30.05.13 Meeting with Roland Johns to discuss the material he and Stephanie had drafted for training colleges about carbon monoxide.
360. 17.05.13 Trip to Brancaster School very kindly arranged by Ros Piggot of Air Testing to present prizes to those who had painted posters for the CO-Gas Safety Schools Poster competition.
359. 08.05.13 Meeting between Frank Brehany and Gareth Hughes and Stephanie Trotter to discuss the amendments and other matters.
358. 07.05.13 ITN interview of Stephanie Trotter about Beko cookers and the deaths that have occurred due to the fact that the grill doors can be shut and then carbon monoxide builds up.
357. Lobbied for the amendments to be put down in the House of Commons.
356. 18.04.13 Meeting of the CO+SAVi Group. Amendments to the Energy Bill were unanimously supported. KHMT kindly offered and paid for half of the costs of drafting the amendments professionally.
355. 14.02.13 Meeting between Stephanie, Barry Sheerman MP and Lord Hunt to discuss the amendments to the Energy Bill. Barry Sheerman MP promised to put down the levy at least.
354. 26.02.13 Meeting with Karl McCartney MP (Roland Johns’ MP) to discuss our proposed amendments to the Energy Bill. Stephanie hoped to persuade Karl to put down the amendments if APPCOG refused.
353. 25.02.13 Interview by BBC News South West.
352. 21.02.13 Meeting by Jonathan Kane, Stephanie Trotter with Adrian McConnell to discuss Gas Safety Trust and particularly the term and condition that stated that terms and conditions could be changed at any time without prior notification. Adrian kindly stated that he would put this to the trustees. Jonathan Kane also asked why the GST couldn’t fund CO-Gas Safety to do the data because we had done this since 1995, we covered all fuels, had a good relationship with the Coroners and mainly victims on our board. GST has none of these.
351. 06.02.13 Meeting with Frank Brehany to discuss CO-Gas Safety applying for EU funding. The problem is that we need members from other EU countries and there seem to be no other similar organisations to CO-Gas Safety.
350. 25.01.13 Meeting between Jonathan Kane and Stephanie Trotter to discuss matters generally. Agreed that amendments shoul be professionally drafted.
349. House of Lords event. Our prizegiving and revelation of another year of data.
Prizes to the winners
Winners of the 2011-12 Competition
North of England
Rhys Michael Carley-Jones. Age at entry 11
School: Abbey Gates Primary School, Nottingham
Teacher: Paul Summers
MP for the School, Mark Spencer, MP
South of England
Sabah Hafeez. Age at entry 11.
School: Courthouse Junior, Maidenhead
Teacher: Tricia Stephenson
MP for the School, Theresa May, MP, Home Secretary
Winner for Scotland
Erin McLaren. Age at entry 11
School Coupar Angus, Perthshire
Teacher: Pamela Canning
MP for the School Pete Wishart, MP MSP for the School John Swinney, MSP
Alex Dowman. Age at entry 11.
School: Sheffield High School, Junior
Teacher: Sarah Groombridge
MP for the school, Paul Blomfield MP
Speeches see website
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Roland Wessling, victim,
Mark Oliver, Wales and West Utilities and
Barry Sheerman MP, Co chair of APPCOG
Gary Barnes, Scotia Gas Networks
Roland Johns gave a very short presentation about the material he is working on with Stephanie to provide to training colleges for registered gas installers.
Very successful event attended by about 100 people.
Eleanor Turner very kindly attended and played the harp to entertain the attendees.
Our thanks to all who attended and to our sponsors who were:-
Scotia Gas Networks, which is very kindly sponsoring the competition for Scotland and the South and also paying for our event at the House of Lords. SGN also kindly paid for our advertorial about the competition in First News.
Wales & West Utilities which is kindly sponsoring the competition in Wales and paying for the press packs
Northern Gas Networks which is kindly sponsoring the North of England for the first time.
Honeywell which has kindly supplied us with alarms to EN 50291 this year.
Also thank you to those who have generously given to us throughout our 18 years and in particular:- Kane International – which has kept us going generally.
348. 08.01.13 Meeting of the sub-group under the All Fuels Action Forum that sits alongside (whatever that means) the APPCOG. Code of Governance for the AFAF presented and we were asked to agree it. Stephanie Trotter pointed out that this was the first time she had seen it and the directors hadn’t seen it so could this be approved at another meeting? Discussion about the legal status of the AFAF. Stephanie asked why both the Gas Safety Trust and the Gas Safe Charity were on the steering committee (yet the other small victim charities were put in a sub-group)? Expressed a concern that most on the steering committee were industry. Decision made to call the sub-group ‘CO+SAVi’. Request by Stephanie to discuss the Energy Bill but suggestion made that we discuss via email and Gordon Samuel asked that we discuss it with the Gas Safety Trust and Gas Safe Charity at another meeting at which they would be present. Gas Safety Trust and Gas Safe Charity attended and gave presentations.
Requests to GSC and GST
DK summed up the requests of the group and asked if GL and CB could write to JA with the answers to these:
The group wanted the charities to carry out research and awareness-raising, with
The scale of research and awareness-raising to be as high as possible, and with industry to contribute.
Additionally, they wanted GST and GSC to work with people who can help with identifying areas to research and what kind of awareness-raising would be most effective, and requested that CO+SAVi be the focus group for their initiatives.
The group requested open access to research that the industry has paid for.
The group would like a focus on improving products – e.g. efficiency of equipment, the information delivered with it, etc.
DK also mentioned ST’s concern about the terms and conditions of the charities, and requested that if any such condition exists, that it be deleted. This was finally removed in May 2013.
347. Work on the event at the House of Lords. Sending out invitations (early December) and doing all the many tasks related to this event. Started to prepare the press pack.
346. 18.12.12 Meeting with Don Foster MP, Minister for the DLG. Also present were Baroness Finlay, Gordon Lishman, Barry Sheerman MP, Jason Mc Cartney, John Arnold and Visaly and others from Policy Connect, and Gordon Samuel. Don Foster MP not keen on changing the building regulations to align with the changes brought in to N. Ireland but he was keen on publicity about CO. After the meeting I gave him our briefing note.
345. Work on the suggested amendments made into a briefing note for Don Foster MP, Minister for the DLG.
344. 10.12.12 Meeting with Roland Johns, ex British Gas who has offered to help us design material for teaching those aspiring to be registered gas installers about CO. It seems there is no agreed training material and the deaht of Matthew Nixon in December 2010 has alerted us to this problem. Matthew was aged 22, a registered gas installer and apprenticed in the gas industry from the age of 16. Yet he died of CO from a petrol generator used in a bedroom to power his tools.
343. 29.11.12 APPCOG meeting. Northern Gas Networks. Discussion afterwards, particularly with Stacey of suggested amendments to the Energy Bill. HTW, KHMT, the Dominic Rodgers Trust and Mark Pratten all now seem to have given us their comments and these suggestions are now put in writing.
342. Work with HTW, KHMT and the Dominic Rodgers Trust to agree some suggested amendments to the Energy Bill that hopefully APPCOG can put forward.
341. Work with HTW, the KHMT, CSI and CO-Awareness and the Dominic Rodgers Trust to try to find a name to call the victim charity sub-group.
340. Meeting with Colemans solicitors between Holiday Travel Watch and ourselves. Jonathan Kane and Stephanie Trotter attended with Frank Brehany. Colemans was the solicitors’ firm Frank chose to help victims of travel disasters when he had 60 firms bidding for his work. We have recommended Colemans and been pleased with their work but have not yet received any funding from them although we may do in the future.
339. 20.11.12 Meeting with Barry Sheerman MP. Also present was Fergus Moffat from MP Mike Hancock’s office and Gordon Samuel from the Katies Haines Memorial Trust, John Arnold and Visaly from Policy Connect. Action points were agreed namely that Barry would seek a meeting with Judith Hackitt Chair of the HSE, write to the CEOs of the fuel companies and invite them to a meeting and appoint a new Lib. Dem co-chair as Mike Hancock MP is still very ill.
338. 06.11.12 APPCOG meeting about Ostriches re CO.
337. AGM held 30.10.12. Baroness Maddock thanked for being our patron for all these years. Appointment of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath as our new patron. Lord Hunt was a Minister for the HSE and also a Health Minister. Wrote the minutes.
336. Prepared for the AGM on the 30th October.
335. Advised various victims.
334. Wrote to Chris Bielby (23rd October) stating that we wanted to see the Gas Safety Trust about the Trust using some of their millions to pay for prime time TV warnings and hopefully, get the ball rolling so others such as the wealthy gas suppliers with huge profits, would also provide funding for a properly set up and sustained campaing.
333. Alerted all our email contacts (over 2,000) about the film made by the Samuels. Had many responses which took up a huge amount of time but it was really good to hear from so many people.
332. 15th October 2012 All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group meeting. First there was a meeting of the victim charity groups attended by attended by Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane for CO-Gas Safety. Also present were Gordon and Avril Samuel, (CO victim, Katie Haines’ parents) Richard Haines (Katie Haines’ husband) for the Katie Haines Memorial Trust and Stacey Rodgers of the Dominic Rodgers Trust. At this meeting various matters were discussed including the need for the All Fuels Group to be a legal person, which could make an agreeement with various parties including the victim charities. Such a written agreement is recommended by the Charities Commission but is not possible if the All Fuels Group is only a talking shop and not a legal person. Stephanie Trotter pointed out that she had sat on various similar committees since 1997 and they had all failed, in her opinion, due to the fact that they were not legal persons and due to lack of funds to take real action, such as prime time TV warnings. The Samuels then showed a very good film they had had made about the dangers of CO and asked us all to alert people to it. Then there was the steering group attended by Richard Haines on behalf of the charity victim groups. Then there was a general meeting with wine etc. from 4.00 until 6.00 p.m. addressed by Barry Sheerman MP and Baroness Finlay.
331. Received letter from Chris Bielby dated 08.10.12 stating that we had been refused a meeting with the Gas Safety Trust to discuss CO-Gas Safety’s funding which was NOT what I wanted to discuss with the trustees. I wanted to discuss the Gas Safety Trust starting a fund to pay for prime time TV warnings as I had asked in July 2012. See point 334.
330 Sent email dated 04.10.12 warning John Arnold of Policy Connect for APPCOG that we might not be able to supply the data in time and had he asked the Gas Safety Trust for this data. We also asked if Baroness Finlay could write to the Gas Safe Charity asking them for funding for the data on our behalf.
329. 25th September 2012 meeting with British Gas at Stephanie’s husband’s office, Bates Wells & Braithwaite in the city. It seems there were no other offices BG could use. Helpful meeting attended by Stephanie Trotter, Jonathan Kane and Baschea Walsh, CO victim. Prime time TV warnings, landlords’ duties, smart metering, flues in voids, poster competition, gas emergency service, CMDDA1 and helpline all discussed. Need for testing appliances for CO discussed. Useful meeting but we are awaiting action points by BG.
328. Stephanie Trotter went to Coventry on the 11th September for an HPA conference to give a talk on CO. Sadly we had to pay £95.00 to attend, as well as travel expenses to get there. Talk went well but in a small room, so not many people sadly. We find it very hard to understand why the speakers were all charged to attend this meeting.
327. Tweeted Dr. Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, about depression and she tweeted back and she kindly offered a meeting. We met on the 4th September 2012. Dr. Gerada agreed that prime time TV warnings was a good idea and suggested a meeting at their new office to be held at the same time as our event in January. She further suggested that Baroness Finlay could invite all the CEOs of the suppliers etc. and ask them for funding for a campaign for TV warnings. This was much appreciated. Sadly Baroness Finlay seemed unable to be sure of managing a whole day on any possible dates in January so we fixed our poster competition prize giving and revelation of our latest data for 22nd January 2013 at the House of Lords.
326. We also received a request from John Arnold of Policy Connect on behalf of the APPCOG, to supply our data for the last two years from APPCOG. We explained that although we would try this might not be possible by the early autumn as our data processing officer had retired. However, we had found a new person and we hoped to produce the data in the form of constituencies etc. We also explained that we were still waiting to hear if our data was to be funded by the Gas Safe Charity. We also asked if Baroness Finlay had asked the gas suppliers for funding to pay for prime time TV warnings and I copied this to Baroness Finlay (16.08.12 to which I attached the original HSC recommendations about the levy for publicity and that the gas emergency service should carry and use equipment to test gas appliances and 03.09.12).
325. We received notice in August that the APPGSG would be changing its name to APPCOG. We responded by cautioning that this would be restrictive with regard to the other toxins in the products of combustion and indeed with regard to an explosion such as Ronan Point.
324. Trotter asked John Arnold if Baroness Finlay had asked the big retailers (the big 6 suppliers) for funding to raise awareness of the dangers of CO. Trotter also asked (email dated 16th August) why Baroness Finlay had not mentioned the levy on the gas suppliers to pay for raising awareness and for research in the recommendations made by the Health and Safety Commission in 2000, in her recommendatons made on behalf of the APPGSG.
323. 8th August 2012, telephone conference with Chris Bielby. Stephanie Trotter offered a meeting with the Gas Safety Trust trustees to ask the trustees to commit some of their £4 million to prime time TV warnings. Notes of this conference were made by Kane and Trotter and sent to Bielby. However, later Chris Bielby told us he did not wish these notes to be sent out.
322. Sent emails on 26.07.12 about the need for funding for a nation wide safety campaign about CO to Chris Bielby as chair of the Gas Safety Trust and the Gas Industry Safety Group, copied to the members of the APPGSG. Also with regard to correction of the data used by the GST. Received no reply. Was offered a telephone conference on the 8th August which Jonathan Kane and Stephanie Trotter accepted.
322. Gave an interview on Meridian radio about carbon monoxide.
321. Attended an APPGSG meeting about the leisure industry on 12th July 2012. The Gas Safety Trust had done some research and gave a presentation with data. One of the deaths was in the wrong year and was from a generator not a barbecue. CO-Awareness unable to attend due to lack of funds.
320. Attended CO-Awareness’ launch of their leaflet and poster about the dangers of barbecues etc. on 10th July at the House of Commons.
319. Meeting at Ofgem on 29th May 2012
318. Prepared a press release about deaths and injuries from barbecues in tents based on our data. This was signed and supported by CO-Gas Safety, www.co-gassafety.co.uk,
the Katie Haines Memorial Trust http://katiehaines.com/,
the Dominic Rodgers Trust,
Mark Pratten, Crew Manager, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, Prevention Team Bodmin Community Fire Station email@example.com, CoGDEM, www.cogdem.org.uk/
Frank Brehany – Consumer Director – HolidayTravelWatch – www.holidaytravelwatch.net,
Martin Ling MSc. Cert Ed. MIFireE, Fire Safety Consultant
Toby Shea, Director – international BBQ Network , President – British BBQ Society
All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group www.policyconnect.org.uk/appgsg/
317. Attended an APPGSG meeting on 2nd May 2012. Baroness Finlay urged all the victim groups to work together.
316. Interviewed by Daybreak TV programme about barbecue dangers.
315. Interviewed I think by Sky News about barbecue death.
314. Meeting with Eon about Smart metering also on the 26th April.
313. Attended a Health and Safety Conference in London on the 26th April 2012.
312. APPGSG meeting on the 19th April.
311. Dr. Craggs sent her report to the Gas Safe Charity on the 10th April 2012.
310. Supported a Wales & West Utilities film promotion about CO in Cardiff on 24th February 2012.
309. Meeting with Robert Flanagan, toxicologist on the 9th February.
308. Successful event at the House of Lords on 31st January with regard to our prizegiving and the revealing our latest data.We have recorded 622 deaths and 4,148 near misses. We are convinced that these are the tip of an iceberg. At the event at the House of Lords Baroness Maddock, Lord Hunt and Denis Kerby from Scotia Gas Networks all spoke.
307. An All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group meeting on the 25th January was attended by Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter. Speakers were Steve Brown of Ofgem, Colin Connor of the HSE and Brian Martin of the DCLG. Steve Brown stated that the CO groups had influenced the Ofgem meetings with the GDNs (i.e. emergency service providers) and that progress was being made. The CO groups which had attended were almost entirely CO-Gas Safety (Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton) and occasionally The Dominic Rodgers Trust on the telephone. Brian Martin stated that the reason the building regulations had only required CO alarms for solid fuel appliances was because there are more deaths from solid fuel so the use of CO alarms was not justified for other fuels, such as gas. Baroness Finlay objected on the grounds that there are no automatic tests on dead bodies so we just don’t know how many deaths there are with regard to each fuel. Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton supported her in this contention. Paul Overton then stated that it was so odd that CO-Gas Safety’s data was completely ignored when it was the most extensive, covering CO incidents from all fuels and the most checked, as we write to every Coroner with regard to every death, which is not done by any other body.
306. Stephanie Trotter prepared the new press pack and made all the arrangements with regard to the event at the House of Lords on the 31.01.12.
305. Stephanie Trotter continued to relate with and support victims.
304. Considerable preparations were made by Stephanie Trotter with regard to our prize giving event on the 31st January 2012.
303. During the late Autumn Dr. Carolyn Craggs, a statistician, related with us with regard to our data on deaths and injuries from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
302. Meeting of All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group on 19.12.11 attended by Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane. Before the meeting Kane and Trotter had a meeting with Chris Bielby, chairman of the Gas Safety Trust and the Gas Industry Safety Group. We talked about the fact that the Gas Safety Trust had claimed that its data was the ‘official data’ when HSE had confirmed that it was not. This was something Trotter put in writing to Bielby in Aril 2011. Trotter also asked Bielby to conduct a mystery shopper experiment to see how difficult it was for an ordinary person to obtain a test of gas appliances for CO in order to identify which appliance was emitting CO. Bielby agreed to do this. Both Kane and Trotter followed up this meeting with emails. Trotter’s email contained instructions with regard to how to conduct the mystery shopper experiment. Obviously Bielby with his contacts had found this easy to do. However, we wanted him to find an ordinary person and see how difficult it was then without his contacts in the industry.
The toxicologist mentioned above in 299 from the HPA was present at the APPGSG meeting. Stephanie Trotter put it to this person that the problem with the Helpline idea was the extreme difficulty in obtaining a registered gas installer who could go out and test gas appliances for CO. People need to know where the possible CO is coming from and if there is CO, how many parts per million in writing for their GP. The toxicologist stated that the gas emergency service would do this and Trotter disagreed. Stephanie Trotter had just been talking to Garry Farnhill of Northern Gas Networks about this issue and so she went and asked him to speak to the toxicologist about this and left them to talk. Garry confirmed later to Stephanie Trotter that he has told the toxicologist that indeed the gas emergency service had no equipment to test gas appliances for CO. An HPA public health scientist, who also attended the HPA conference from the HPA was also present during this conversation. Trotter is horrified that the HPA still doesn’t accept the situation that people cannot obtain a test of gas appliances for CO as this was something CO-Gas Safety identified as a need within a few weeks of its launch in 1995. The Health and Safety Commission (now Executive) also recommended that the gas emergency service carry and use equipment to test appliances for CO, but this has not been implemented. Also the toxicologist was at the HPA conference at which this point was made. Also, Trotter has corresponded frequently with this toxicologist about the difficulty of obtaining a test of appliances for CO and the impact this has on the Algorithm which HPA designed for GPs.
Afterwards Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane had a meeting with Paul Johnston CEO of the Gas Safe Register particularly to discuss smart metering and particularly to ask the Gas Safe Register if it would consider at least expressing an opinion in writing to the energy suppliers, DECC, Ofgem and HSE that those employees undertaking smart meter exchanges should all be fitted with Personal Alarm Monitors for CO (PAMs) and should also test gas appliances for CO both before and after the exchange and if there is CO, provide the parts per million of CO in writing to the responsible person and the consumer affected. Also if CO is found before exchange then the appliance and the gas should be turned off leaving the consumer safe. The charity also considers that the gas pressure should be tested before the meter is exchanged and the correct procedure followed because that too can affect safety.
Stephanie Trotter also put it to Paul Johnston that he should not ignore CO-Gas Safety’s data. Discussion then followed about the accuracy of CO-Gas Safety’s data. Stephanie Trotter made the point that the Gas Safety Trust’s data had been criticised by Straight Statistics see http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/carbon-monoxide-killer-no-official-record but had praised CO-Gas Safety’s data.
301. CO-Gas Safety’s AGM on 29.11.11. The future of the charity was discussed and also a new Labour party MP was discussed.
300. Meeting of All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group on 28.11.11. This was a meeting into raising awareness of the medical profession into CO. It was chaired by Barry Sheerman MP and he kindly allowed Stephanie Trotter to ask many questions. Speakers were Dr Simon Clarke, Frimley Park Hospital, Vikki Courtman, CO Angels, Andrew Humber, London Ambulance Service and Dr Ed Walker, CO Awareness. Andrew Humber has undertaken a further study but this has not yet been released which is a great shame.
299. Health Protection Agency event in Horsham, Surrey was attended by Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton on 22.11.11. We were shocked that most of the environmental health officers attending the meeting were unaware of the fact that the gas emergency service does not carry or use equipment to test gas appliances for CO. A particular toxicologist we’ve known for many years from the HPA attended and was the main person running the conference.
298. Meeting on the 8th November with Department of Environment and Climate Change about smart meters. Attended by Stephanie Trotter, Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane. We lobbied for tests to be undertaken before and after installation of smart meters, not only for gas safety but also for carbon monoxide.
207. Another All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group meeting on 31.10.11. Speeches were by Baroness Finlay and Paul Johnston, CEO of the Gas Safe Register. Paul Johnston stated that it was good that in the last few years there had been data from the Gas Safety Trust, which could be used. After the meeting
I put it to Paul Johnston that CO-Gas Safety’s data had been collected since 1995 and published since 1996.
206. Funding urgently sought.
205. Meeting with Alison Gowers on the 26th September cancelled the Thursday before the following Monday meeting as Alison Gowers could not attend, was not in Dr. Maynard’s job and was more interested in outdoor air. Meeting sought with Chief Medical Officer particularly in view of DH’s findings extrapolated from a small amount of data that 4,000 people were diagnosed with CO by A & E and about 50 deaths in England alone.
204. September Ofgem meeting to ascertain powers of Ofgem with regard to gas emergency service and levy although levy unlikely to be something Ofgem can do. Meeting attended by Jonathan Kane, Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter. Ofgem introduced Kobina Hughes, solicitor for Ofgem and discussions with him were more helpful. An opinion on Ofgem’s powers will be given to us soon.
203. Prepared accounts for accountant.
202. More statisticians sought and finally found. Worked to prepare for the validation.
201. August 2011. Scotia Gas Event at the Oval. The unveiling of ‘Hit CO for 6’ attended by Stephanie Trotter and also kindly Stacey Rodgers of the Dominic Rodgers Trust. Scotia Gas is to be congratulated for its initiative.
200. July 2011. Worked hard to update the website.
199. 25th July. Meeting at the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group for the victims and victim groups to give evidence. Paul Overton gave evidence and sadly was the only victim present as neither Molly Maher, Stacey Rodgers nor Vikki Courtman (who had been asked) could attend. Baroness Finlay attended but sadly had to leave just before Stephanie Trotter gave evidence. However, Stephanie will be submitting written evidence to the APPGSG by the end of Friday 29th and just hopes that Baroness Finlay and the MPs, who are co-chairs of the group and the members of the group (also MPs) will read it.
198. 13th July 2011. Meeting at the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group attended by Baroness Finlay, who gave a speech and Barry Sheerman, MP one of the co-chairs of the APPGSG, who also gave a speech. Baroness Finlay is chairing an inquiry into low level CO poisoning and nearly died of CO herself. There was shock expressed at the meeting at the fact that there is no need to test gas appliances after the meter has been exchanged for a Smart meter and disappointment and disbelief were expressed at the loss of this opportunity. Stephanie Trotter, Jonathan Kane and Paul Overton attended.
197. July 2011. Meeting with Colin Connor of the HSE kindly also attended by Lord Hunt. It seems there is no keenness from HSE to act in the ways we would like them to act to save lives. Stephanie Trotter, Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane.
197. June 2011. Statisticians sought and talked to.
196. June 2011. Heard from Les Philpott of the Gas Safe Charity that although our application for funding could not yet be granted but that that the GSC would be willing to fund a statistician to examine our data.
195. June 2011. Meeting with Phil Bentley of British Gas. Bob Kerr also attended. Jonathan Kane, Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton attended.
194. June 2011. Attended Ofgem meeting on the duties of the Emergency Service. Stephanie and Paul
193. May 2011. Attended a Consumer Safety International event at the House of Lords, chaired by Nigel Griffiths and attended by Lord Hunt and Baroness Finlay. Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter attended.
192. April 2011. Attended a conference ‘Health and Safety Reform’ and made some useful contacts. Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton.
191. April 2011. Meeting with Mark Elliott of Scotia Gas. Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter attended.
190. April 2011. Worked with Rob Aiers of carbonmonoxidekills.com to help him launch e-newsletter about CO. Lord Hunt wrote a forward.
189. March 2011. Meeting with Lord Hunt to discuss lack of progress in persuading Government to take action and funding problems. Jonathan Kane, Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter attended.
188. February 2011 Stephanie Trotter OBE gave a talk at Carshalton and Kingston College.
187. January 2011. Ofgem meeting. Attended by Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter.
186. January 2011. Prize giving event at the House of Lords. Great success with over 100 people attending.
185. December 2010. Preparation for prize giving at the House of Lords including preparation of data over 15 years and charts showing analysis of data and press pack.
184. December 2010. CO-Gas Safety’s AGM. Attended by Don Neal, Paul Overton, Stephanie Trotter, OBE, Terry of Holmes and Co and Holly Farrow on behalf of Andrew Rosindell MP.
183. November 2010. Gas Safe Charity presentation by CO-Gas Safety. Stephanie Trotter, Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane attended.
182. November 2010. Ofgem meeting. Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton attended.
181. November 2010. Meeting with the Samuels (bereaved parents). Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane attended.
180. November 2010. Attended GISG (Gas Industry Safety Group) awards dinner. Jonathan Kane, Stephanie Trotter, Molly Maher and Paul Overton attended.
179. November 2010. Meeting with Mrs. Sestili who has suffered poisoning.
178. November 2010 Attended an All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group meeting also attended by Chris Grayling, MP Minister for the HSE. Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton attended.
177. November 2010 Attended a HPA (Health Protection Agency) conference about CO in Sheffield. Stephanie Trotter.
176. November 2010. Had a meeting with Robin Dahlberg member of the HSE board. Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane attended.
175. November 2010 Attended a meeting with British Gas (Steve Giblin and Bob Kerr). Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane also attended.
174. November 2010 Attended a Gas Safe Register event. Molly Maher and Paul Overton also attended.
173. October 2010 Attended a Gas Safety Trust event at which it was revealed that the GST had only found 4 deaths in 2010. Molly Maher and Paul Overton also attend.
172. September 2010 Wrote to the new Minister Chris Grayling MP, Minister for the HSE asking for a meeting.
171. September 2010. Updated the website, ‘what we’ve done so far’. Stephanie Trotter.
170. September 2010. Prepared response to GDPRCR2. Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton.
169. September 2010. Attended a meeting at Ofgem to discuss the
Gas Distribution Price Control Review 2 (GDPRCR2). Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton
168. September 2010. Prepared application for funds to the Gas Safe Charity. Stephanie Trotter.
167. September 2010. Prepared applications for awards by the Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG). Stephanie Trotter.
166. September 2010 Attended Gas Safe Charity launch with Molly Maher and Don Neal.
165. August 2010 prepared 14 Parliamentary Questions for Barry Sheerman MP to ask. Most of these were prepared and sent to Barry in 2008 but an added question was relevant to the treatment of those, who have been poisoned and arose from the meeting with the person, who lives in the Isle of Wight (see 164 above).
164. August 2010. Visit to someone who lives in the Isle of Wight, who was poisoned by pesticides to share experiences of the treatment by the medics of those poisoned by fuel toxins. Paul Overton also attended.
163. August 2010 meeting with a solicitor from Linder Myers. CO-Gas Safety finds it very difficult to find the right lawyers for victims.
162. July 2010 attended re-launch of the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group of MPs. Gave a speech. This was also attended by directors Molly Maher, Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane as well as a representative of Mike Hancock MP, our Lib. Dem director and now a co-chair of the APPGSG.
161. June 2010 meeting with Charlie Mullin CEO and Karl Plunkett of Pimlico Plumbers. Meeting also attended by Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane. Worked on suggested change to the law on the landlord’s gas safety check. Proposed change ‘Person undertaking the check must either undertake a service according to manufacturer’s instructions or, following procedures outlined in BS7967 part 4, use Flue Gas Analysers meeting EN50379 to measure the combustion gasses for PPM (Parts Per Million) of CO and also the CO/CO2 ratio.’ Pimlico now publicly support our efforts to change the law.
160. June 2010 wrote to all the new Ministers and to Sam Laidlaw CEO of Centrica (British Gas) asking for meetings.
159. June 2010 Meeting with Pete Eldridge of the Gas Safe Register. Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane also attended.
158. May 2010 Meeting with someone, who wanted to volunteer to help the charity.
157. May 2010 Meeting at the Gas Safe Register at their office in Basingstoke.
156. May 2010 met Richard Griffiths (brother of Paul Griffiths who sadly died of CO).
155. April 2010 attended a demonstration to support Dr. Myhill, who has helped many victims.
154. April 2010. Attended five day inquest of Dallas Smith aged three, who died in a house full of gas appliances in Oldham. The house was part of a terrace with a house on each side full of gas appliances. Stephanie was told was told by the Coroner, that Dallas had raised levels of toxins (arsenic, barium and nickel and especially manganese – 15 times the higher levels). The inquest has now been held (April 2010) and the verdict was death by natural causes. The manganese was explained by contamination and post mortem distribution, although we have been told that there is only research on post mortem distribution with regard to drugs, not heavy metals.
153. March 2010 attended a COCAA meeting in Coventry.
152. Interview with regard to my application to become a trustee of the new Gas Safe Charity.
151. March 2010 updated the website and launched new one.
150. Much work done by Stephanie as a result of contact with many victims and families of victims both with regard to CO, other toxins and ill effects from natural gas.
149. Due to the imminent appearance of Harry Rogers at the Corfu trial in Corfu, yellow booklet first prepared by Molly Maher in 2000, was vetted and 50 ordered to be printed by Stephanie.
148.26.01.10 Prize giving event at House of Lords attended by about 100 people. Event also marked the 15th anniversary of the charity. We had hoped there would be no need for the charity after three to five years. Sadly we consider that the need still exists because government has done almost nothing. Industry is beginning to take action but it is far too little and concentrates on marketing of servicing and alarms It is not that the charity disagrees, but much more needs to be done.. CSI (holiday safety) and CO-Gas Safety were the first charities on gas safety. Four more have been set up (two by victims and two by industry) and yet so little has been achieved.
147. Arrangements made for the event on the 26.01.10 mainly by Stephanie. Invitations sent out, room checked, data updated, press pack prepared and printed, press release done, prizes prepared, presentations ordered and prepared etc. etc. etc.
146. Charity informed that the applications for DoH funding had both got through the first hurdles. Two detailed further applications prepared by Stephanie and had to be returned by the middle of January 2010.
145. 01.12.09. AGM. Well attend by Stephanie Trotter, President & Director, Don Neal, Director, Paul Overton, Director, Donna of Holmes & Co, Jonathan Kane, Director, Baroness Maddock, Patron, Ruth Bessant on behalf of Desmond Swayne MP.
144. 30.11.09 Meeting with Lord McKenzie attended by CO-Awareness and CO-Gas Safety. Attendees from CO-Gas Safety were Desmond Swayne MP. Paul Overton, Molly Maher, Don Neal, Jonathan Kane and Stephanie Trotter. Topics discussed were
1. CO detector research project (CO Awareness)
Recommendations from the HSE domestic gas safety review in 2000
(CO Gas Safety)
Concerns about other toxins in fuels (CO Gas Safety)
Victim support, including collection of incident data and response
CO Awareness in the travel industry (CO Gas Safety)
Proposals to combine all CO victim support groups (including CO-Gas Safety & CO Awareness) under one umbrella organisation (CO Awareness)
143. 26.11.09. Open day at the Gas Safe Register. Stephanie Trotter attended and was impressed by the openness and efficiency of the staff and operation.
142.19.11.09 Conference on the future of energy. As the conference organisers kindly offered us two free places Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter attended. The scientists (mostly outdoor air experts) were well aware of fuel toxins affecting air quality outdoors but seemed unaware of the higher dangers the same toxins could give rise to indoors, in a confined space (e.g. a kitchen).
141. Meeting in Brussels organised by Linda McAvan MEP about the need for a European Directive on gas, fire and hygiene in tourist accommodation. Attended by Stephanie Trotter and Molly Maher. We lobbied that this directive be not restricted to tourist accommodation. Many useful contacts were made.
140. Meeting at Logic Certification. CO-Gas Safety is the consumer representative. CMDDA1 discussed (new course for gas installers for fumes investigation). This course is still not being taught and the charity has been lobbying for this course to be introduced since at least 2000 if not 1996.
139. Meeting with Frank Brehany of Holiday Travel Watch. CO-Gas Safety and Holiday Travel Watch have much in common and suffer the same problems, lack of funding, too much to do, poor service by lawyers for our victims and too little publicity by the media.
138. 05.11.09 Meeting at the Health Protection Agency for a seminar about CO. In 2008 CO-Gas Safety was not allowed to attend because it was not a health professional yet we learned in 2009 that others such as CoGDEM had been allowed to attend. The seminar was very good but depressingly CO-Gas Safety (Paul and Stephanie) seemed to know more than those present about the dangers and the problems with CO. An example was given of a Tandoori restaurant with a flat above. The lady in the flat was frequently woken in the night by her CO alarm. It took 8 months to find that the CO was coming from the Tandoori oven, which was left on at night but with the ventilation turned off. SHE COULD HAVE DIED. Stephanie pointed out that the main problem was that the gas emergency service, despite having a duty to make safe from CO had no equipment to test appliances for CO. Stephanie reminded the seminar that the HSC (now HSE) had IN 2000 recommended that the Gas Emergency Service carry and use equipment to test appliances for CO.
137.27.10.09 Meeting with Lord Mogg of Ofgem. Jonathan Kane, Paul Overton and Stephanie attended.
136. 23.10.09 Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter attended Gareth Hughes’ bankruptcy hearing. Gareth has refused to pay tax to a government which continues to fail to deal with the fuel toxins.
135. 19.10.09. Stephanie travelled to Manchester for conference with barrister with regard to the death of Dallas Smith. Harry Rogers also attended.
134. 13.10.09 Meeting with Centrica. Stephanie had tried to obtain a meeting with Sam Laidlaw, the CEO principally about the other toxins. This meeting was refused but at least Sam Laidlaw signed a letter stating that he had received Stephanie’s letter about the other toxins (with references from the Internet). Meeting was therefore with Charlotte Grezo, Head of Social Corporate Responsibility and Chris Bielby, Head of Integrity, British Gas, Jonathan Kane, Director of CO-Gas Safety, Paul Overton, Father of Katie Overton, who died aged 11 of CO and Director of CO-Gas Safety, Stephanie Trotter, President & Director of CO-Gas Safety and Stephen Hadley, concerned registered gas installer.
133. Meeting at the Gas Safe Register event in London. Stephanie was asked and gave a short talk.
132. Meeting with Judith Hackitt Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and Geoffrey Podger Chief Executive of the HSE and Peter Brown, Head of Work Environment, Radiation and Gas on 29th September 2009. Attended by ,Jonathan Kane, Director of Kane International and CO-Gas Safety, Paul Overton, father of Katie Overton, who died of CO in 2003 and Director of CO-Gas Safety, Molly Maher, mother of two CO victims & Vice President and Director of CO-Gas Safety, Stephanie Trotter, President & Director of CO-Gas Safety and Stephen Hadley, concerned gas installer. Topics discussed were
(a). Lack of implementation of the recommendations made by HSC in 2000 (levy for publicity and research and equipment to test appliances for CO).
(i) Continued lack of awareness of the dangers of CO.
(ii) DoH algorithm re testing appliances for CO – failure to provide test for appliances for GPs, yet misleading advice that there is such a test.
(iii) Impact of the lack of action from HSE on Ofgem.
No obligation on Ofgem unless HSE insists or suppliers all agree.
(There is no obligation on Ofgem or anyone else to treat CO alarm alerts as fire brigade would respond to smoke alarm alerts.)
(iv) Emergency Service Providers (ESPs) do not even have equipment for their own safety, except Scotia Gas.
(v) There is no feedback from registered installer responding to ESP callouts, nor is there any data on repeat visits to the same properties.
(b). Hidden flues.
(c). Landlords gas safety certificates – should be changed to service or at least the CO should be measured and recorded. Landlords should be licensed.
(d). Gas Safe Register – e.g. charity not yet operational, funding of £1.7 million will surely be clawed back and risk of fees being put up.
Enforcement powers for inspectors.
What should replace ACS?
(e). HSE data – CO-Gas Safety’s is better but surely it shouldn’t be? Especially as now not even funded by DoH.
(f). Cookers – why are they not in the Building Regs? 6 deaths re grills.
(g). Other toxins. Urgent need for action on this.
(h). Lack of help for victims. Lack of action on CO generally.
The meeting was good but I think it is fair to say that nothing came of it.
131. Travelled to Oldham on Sunday 16th August for the inquest which was to be on Monday 17th. Stephanie was supported by Stephen Hadley, Kevin Barr (both concerned gas installers) and Harry Rogers, independent gas expert court witness. Thankfully an adjournment was obtained until November 11th.
130. Stephanie tried again (successfully) to put in paid for advertisements in local paper to ask family of Dallas Smith to contact us. Put in three advertisements and final one was seen by the mother’s godfather. He alerted the family and Claire Smith telephoned Stephanie and after a day or two accepted our free offer of legal representation, which she had already had to arrange as time was running out.
130. Meeting with Stephen Hadley and Charlie of PP2 Pumps, concerned gas installers attended by Stephanie Trotter 28.07.09.
129. Meeting about funding application at DoH attended by Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter 21.07.09.
128. Meeting of Peter Brown of the HSE attended on 30.06.09. Peter Brown has taken over from Les Philpott. Paul Overton, Stephanie Trotter and Jonathan Kane attended.
127. 18.06.09 meeting at Ofgem attended.
126. Huge efforts were made by Stephanie Trotter since the death in January 2008 to contact the family of Dallas Smith aged just three, who died in a room with a gas appliance but apparently no CO found in the body. Local paper contacted but refused to publish our letter offering free advice and support and asking for the family to contact us. Local paper also refused paid for advertisement asking family to contact us. Coroner did not want to pass our name on either. In June contacted local post office, which was very helpful and put up a message on their noticeboard.
125. 14.05.09 COCAA meeting attended.
124. 05.05.09 Meeting with Lord McKenzie. CO-Awareness also present. As CO-Awareness wanted to take up much of the meeting with a request for research into CO alarms in the field, CO-Gas Safety agreed to send Lord McKenzie our evidence about the other toxins by email, which we did on the 12.05.09.Mike Hancock MP, Alan Keen MP, Molly Maher, Don Neal, Jonathan Kane also attended.
123 Stephanie attended with Paul Overton the 12th Annual Conference on Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution Research 20-21 April 2009 at Cranfield University.
122. 23.03.09 Meeting with Ian Taylor MP to seek his support for the Schools Poster Competition. Paul also attended.
121. Meeting in Coventry of COCAA. 16.03.09
120. Meeting at Ofgem attended 27.01.09 with regard to the Gas Emergency Service.
119. 20.01.09 Prize giving event at the House of Commons attended by Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families and the Corfu parents and other bereaved parents such as the Littlewoods and Paul Overton. Very successful event with about 100 attendees.
118. Meeting with Mike Hancock MP and Alan Keen MP 13.01.09.
117. Meeting with Capita on 04.11.08. Anne Robinson, who is to head the new Gas Safe Trust said she was impressed with our Schools Poster Competition. No offers were made in support however,
116. On the 6th October Stephanie attended the trial of Mr. Jilbert charged with manslaughter by gross negligence of Angela Pinkney aged 35. Angela had received numerous visits from British Gas installers in the 8-9 months before she died. She had also visited A & E in Oxford the day before she died, was kept overnight and was released on the day of her death and told to go home and lie down. The prosecution offered no evidence. It was impossible to prove an action of negligence against a particular CORGI registered installer and that this negligence had caused the death. However, in our opinion, it is outrageous that a person, who does all the right things, still died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The Coroner stated that he would be writing a letter to British Gas Services suggesting improvements to their systems and in particular that at the conclusion of all visits by British Gas engineers, safety checks should be carried out and that a measurement of the combustion gasses be made.
115. Harry Rogers attended a fringe event organized by CORGI at the Labour Party Conference on Monday 22nd September 2008.
114. Paul Overton attended a sponsored walk for the Dominic Rodgers Trust on Sunday 21st September 2008.
113. Paul Overton attended an Ofgem meeting on the 18th September 2008 to discuss the Emergency Service having and using equipment to test appliances for CO.
112. Stephanie Trotter attended the Installer Live event in Coventry and was on the panel with regard to gas safety.
111. Stephanie Trotter filled in the form for the first part of an application to the DoH for funding which had to be in by 5th September 2008.
110. Attended a meeting with Citigate with regard to a possible proposal by Lloyds Pharmacy to work together on the Schools Poster Competition. This was attended by Paul Overton and Stephanie Trotter.
109. Attended a COCAA meeting on 6th August 2008.
108. Attended the APPGSG meeting on the 15th July 2008 with Paul Overton and Jonathan Kane. Before meeting matrix prepared for meeting criticized with regard to the other toxins.
107. Gathered and compiled evidence with regard to medical treatment (or rather the lack of it) for victims of fuel poisoning and submitted this to the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group with regard to a meeting (looking at the medical side) on the 15th July 2008.
106. Continued to press HSC on the matter of compiling names of the dead having heard that the Data Protection Act does not apply to dead people. Continued to make the point that unless the HSC collects and keeps basic facts such as name of the deceased, place and date of death it is impossible to keep accurate data and that it seems that CO-Gas Safety’s data is the best in the UK. Please note that we collect accidental deaths and injuries as a result of carbon monoxide and other gas dangers from all fuel not just gas. In our opinion, Government should have better data than that collected by a tiny charity.
105. Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families and the Corfu parents kindly agreed to attend a press event at the House of Lords on the 7th July 2008 to publicise the poster competition. Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay kindly booked the Moses Room for the charity. Stephanie Trotter made all the arrangements for this event, including telephoning all the members of the APPGSG and the 121 MPs who signed Colin Breed’s EDM 1032 dated 2007, asking the MPs to attend and to try to put something in their local papers about the poster competition. The event was well attended and there were several TV cameras and the Press Association. As well as the Corfu parents and their new babies, Ed Balls MP, Lord McKenzie, Minister responsible for the Health and Safety Commission also attended. The Corfu parents gave many TV interviews and Stephanie Trotter gave an interview on TV’s Channel 5 News. Stephanie Trotter received many interesting inquiries and contacts as a result of this event.
104. Stephanie was contacted by Linda McAvan MEP about a meeting at the European Parliament on the 3rd July 2008. Tried to persuade our gas expert and expert court witness Harry Rodgers to attend but the time granted by the Parliament to hear him was only 7 minutes and due to the cost and effort and short notice, sadly this was not possible. Stephanie Trotter was too busy arranging the press event on the 7th July at the House of Lords.
103. Stephanie Trotter contacted many fire stations to raise awareness of the poster competition.
102. Stephanie Trotter attended a Hearth and Home Exhibition in Harrogate on 9th June 2008 to publicise the schools poster competition. A raffle was very kindly held to raise funds to help pay for the poster competition.
101. Paul Overton kindly attended a Guild of Master Sweeps AGM on 16th May 2008 and made many helpful contacts. He also used the opportunity to publicise the CO-Gas Safety Schools Poster Competition to raise awareness of CO.
100. Stephanie Trotter attended an Ofgem meeting on 13th May 2008 to further discuss the Gas Emergency Service having and using equipment to test appliances for CO. She also had a meeting on the same day with Alan Keene MP, who is MP for Hounslow where a recent death has occurred and where there is some controversy over very long flue pipes being used in a block of flats in which the death occurred. Alan Keene MP kindly agreed to persuade his local schools to take part in the Schools Poster Competition.
99. Stephanie Trotter and Paul Overton attended a COCAA meeting on 7th May 2008.
98. Stephanie Trotter travelled to Harrogate on 24th April 2008 to open the National Association of Chimney Sweeps Trade Show and stayed until Sunday 27th April 2008.
Stephanie used the opportunity to publicise the CO-Gas Safety Schools Poster Competition to raise awareness of CO.
97. Harry Rogers, our gas expert and expert court witness, kindly attended an Ofgem meeting on 24th April 2008 to discuss the Gas Emergency Service having and using equipment to test appliances for CO.
96. With other directors attended an All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety (APPGS) meeting on 23rd April 2008 and made several contributions.
95. Meeting with Capita (seeking to become the franchisee registering gas installers) on 3rd April 2008 at our office in Claygate attended by Stephanie and Paul..
94. Meeting with the CORGI Trust and Colin Breed MP on 10th March 2008 at the House of Commons attended by Stephanie and other directors.
93. Stephanie obtained the emails of all the schools in the UK and emailed them about the competition in March 2008.
92. CORGI has promised to add a small item to its email newsletter about the competition in April 2008.
91. With Jonathan Kane, met Alan Ball of Plumbing Trade Supplies on 20th February 2008 and he kindly agreed to advertise the schools poster competition in all the PTS stores and hand out a leaflet to CORGI installers about the competition.
90. Attended ERA meeting on research by UCL on 13th February 2008.
89. Stephanie attended a COCAA meeting on Feb. 6th 2008 at which we asked for more support for our Schools Poster Competition and offered to put the COCAA logo on if more support was forthcoming. No support was forthcoming.
88. Stephanie arranged a meeting with the CORGI Trust in January 2008 but sadly this was postponed.
87. Held our AGM on 11.12.07 at the House of Commons (room kindly arranged by Colin Breed MP). Meeting well attended and plans discussed for 2008 and beyond.
86. Paul Overton appointed as a director.
85.Stephanie attended a meeting of COCAA on 07.11.07 in Leicester.
84. Molly Maher and Stephanie had a meeting on 25.10.07 with Nigel Dumbrell of the CORGI Trust at CO-Gas Safety office in Claygate.
83. Stephanie attended an event in Edinburgh on 23.10.07 at the Scottish Parliament organized by CORGI.
82. Stephanie attended an event in Huddersfield organized by Kirklees and the Dominic Rodgers Trust on 19.10.07.
81. Directors attended a meeting at Ofgem on 18.10.07 to discuss the gas emergency service.
80. Stephanie.attended an event on 16.10.07 at the House of Commons organized by CORGI for CO Awareness week.
79. Stephanie organised awards and attendance of two child heroes to attend event for CO Awareness week at the House of Lords on 15.10.07 to launch CO-Gas Safety’s School Poster Competition to raise awareness of the dangers of CO.
78. Stephanie attended a fringe event organized by CORGI and the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group (APPGSG) during the Labour party conference in Bournemouth.
77. Stephanie, her husband and Don Neal, another director attended a theatrical event called ‘Clouds’ organized in memory of Ed Tomlinson and half proceeds raised to be for CO-Gas Safety.
76. Stephanie attended CORGI Installer Live at Coventry and took part in an interview panel. Also attended the CORGI Trust AGM (although not asked. However, Stephanie considered that CO-Gas Safety was a stakeholder and CORGI was on CO-Safety’s board of reference).
75. Stephanie contacted Dr. Bruce Gillis in the USA about his DNA testing for exposure to toxins.
74. Stephanie finally managed to get the schools poster competition put out on TeacherNet and put in the first email to schools send by the Department of Children Schools & Families to all schools on 11th September. This was sheer Hell and without the support of Barry Sheerman MP (who had kindly obtained the support of Lord Adonis) this would not have been possible at all.
73. Stephanie updated the report sent to EnergyPR, (see 69 above).
72. Stephanie compiled a booklet to explain the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to avoid CO and other products of combustion. Worked with an artist, John O’Leary, who was poisoned by CO and who kindly supplied excellent illustrations to us free. John O’Leary is a children’s illustrator.
71.Stephanie attended a Carbon Monoxide Awareness Alliance meeting on 14th August 2007 and sent in our part for a report for Lord McKenzie being compiled by EnergyPR for COCAA.
70. Stephanie attempted to build on promises to sponsor our UK wide schools poster competition and liaised with Eve Cooper of CORGI, who kindly agreed to give the competition as much publicity as she could manage. Competition details apparently sent by Eve by email to all CORGI inspectors and installers.
69. Attended a meeting with Lord McKenzie with other directors of the charity on July 25th 2007.
68. Stephanie attended an APPGSG meeting in July 2007 (24th).
67. Stephanie attended a one day investigative journalist course.
66. In June 2007 Stephanie and Paul Overton attended the CORGI Map Event at which CORGI gave out some data on deaths and injuries compiled by HSE and CORGI installers. Our data going back to 1995, with names of the dead and attempts made to check every death with the Coroner concerned were completely ignored.
65. Stephanie contacted by COCAA and applied for membership of the steering committee of COCAA June 2007. No response was forthcoming but we were ultimately refused. There was no representative of either victims or consumers on the steering group of COCAA for some time until Stacey Rodgers was appointed.
64. Stephanie made a presentation to the officials group of an interdepartmental group on CO set up by Lord Hunt HSE with some CO victims.
63. Stephanie attended a play ‘Live and learn’ inspired by Stacey Rodgers in Huddersfield in May 2007.
62. Stephanie conferred with the Yorkshire police with regard to the Corfu tragedy.
61. Stephanie pushed for support for a schools poster competition and undertook a great deal of research.
60. Stephanie with other directors attended a meeting at Ofgem in April 2007. This has led to a great deal of detailed correspondence in an attempt to ascertain exactly what Ofgem’s powers are and to find out whether or not the HSC’s recommendations made in 2000 had been put to Ofgem and discussed.
59. Heather Tomlinson, a teacher who had recently lost her beloved son Edward, very kindly took over the organization of a pilot schools poster project assisted by Stephanie. This was invaluable to the success of the poster competition and Stephanie will always be grateful to Heather and her husband Howard for their generous time and hard work.
58.. Stephanie Trotter decided that despite the HSC’s recommendations in 2000 that there be a levy on the gas suppliers to pay for publicity and for research, it was obvious this would not be implemented nor would industry do anything meaningful in a voluntary fashion. Therefore an alternative cost effective way of raising awareness had to be found. Stephanie Trotter decided in 2006 on a schools poster competition to raise awareness and put materials together to make this possible.
57. Attended an APPGSG meeting at the House of Commons in April 2007.
56. Attended a stakeholders meeting HSE meeting April 2007.
55. Attended a meeting at HSE in March 2007.
54. Had a meeting with Lord McKenzie the Minister responsible for the Health and Safety Commission and Executive in March 2007. Very well attended by Colin Breed MP, Desmond Swayne MP, Molly Maher, Paul Overton, Jonathan Kane, Stacey Rodgers, Cath Rawnsley-Pemberton and Mike Shanley
53. Submitted further document to Ofgem as part of their Supply Licence Review, end of February 2007.
52. Stephanie Trotter attended Stacey Rodgers’ event at Huddersfield on 12th February 2007 – this was very well attended and meeting addressed by Barry Sheerman MP.
51. Attended and assisted with adjournment debate by Colin Breed MP on 7th February 2007 House of Commons.
50. Meeting with Chris Pierce of Fireco.
49. CO-Gas Safety meeting (Stephanie, Marcus Weatherby, Don Neal) with Jonathan Rees, deputy Chief Executive HSE on 29th January and open letters sent to the Commissioners asking them to reconsider their decision made on 9th January.
48. Stephanie Trotter was interviewed by BBC Wales (Radio) on 25th January.
47. CO-Gas Safety had a meeting on 11th January 2007 with Avril Adams at HSE to discuss the HSE document already voted on by the HSC.
46. Stephanie and various other directors attended the “open” meeting on 9th January 2007 at Rose Court at which the recommendations made by the HSE were voted on and passed by the HSC. Neither CO- Gas Safety nor any other attendees were allowed to speak at this meeting.
45. Stephanie Trotter received an OBE in the 2007 New Year Honours’ list.
44. As part of CO Awareness Week, CO-Gas Safety organized a Press Conference on 5th December 2006 at the House of Lords, which was attended by over 120 people, including Lord Hunt, Minister responsible for the Health and Safety Executive (who stayed throughout), CO victims, MPs, industry, CORGI, other interested parties and of course, the media, (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines etc). This was followed by a balloon release in Vincent Square in memory of those who’ve died from accidental CO poisoning since the HSC made its recommendations in 2000. CO-Gas Safety is particularly grateful to the brave parents of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, the two children who died of CO poisoning while on holiday in Corfu, for attending and taking part. The main TV News programmes that evening all featured the two statements, one read by Bobby and Christi’s father, Neil Shepherd, and the other by Paul Wood, the husband of Sharon Wood, the mother of the children.
43. Stephanie attended the CORGI awards October 2006 with Lynn Griffiths of CO-Awareness and Leigh Greenham of CoGDEM. Stephanie was delighted to be there to support Stacey Rodgers of the Dominic Rodgers Trust, who won Gas Safety award 2006. Stephanie was also able to take the opportunity to attend the Installer Live exhibition at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
42. Stephanie attended a meeting with NAPIT in central London
41. On hearing of the tragedy of the two deaths of the children in Corfu at half term 2006, telephoned the hospital in Corfu to try to persuade the medics to test the bodies for CO and to treat the adults, who were extremely ill. Also telephoned and emailed where I could, Thomas Cooke, the family, the Local Authority where the family lived, the police, the Foreign Office and anyone else I could think of. Contacted the family and sent a list of lawyers and gas experts and they chose Harry Rogers to be their gas expert to undertake the investigation in Corfu.
40. Submitted our stage 2 application for funding to Section 64 of the Department of Health for a salary for a replacement for Stephanie.
39. Attended the HSE’s second stakeholder forum with various victims and supporters.
38. Attended the Second Seminar on Vulnerable Customers as part of the OFGEM Supply Licence Review. Please note we have only been invited to meetings concerning vulnerable customers e.g. Elderly, disabled yet everyone is vulnerable to CO.
37. Meeting with Chris Bielby and numerous directors and supporters in London in August 2006.
36. Met with Michael Knowles of OFGEM to endeavour to persuade him that all customers are vulnerable to CO and that the gas emergency service should carry and use equipment to identify appliances which could be omitting CO as recommended by the HSE Fundamental Review of 2000. And further to point out that the levy (also recommended in 2000) had not materialized and that is should now be implemented as there was no mention in the recommendations of the levy being merely voluntary.
35. Met with Jane Lovell of Masimo, a company which manufactures equipment which tests for carboxyhaemoglobin in a non-invasive way. Jane came to our office and showed us this piece of equipment.
34. Submitted a filled in Questionnaire and evidence to HSE’s new Fundamental Review being undertaken by Frontline Consultants.
33. Met with Joel Penrose of PACE Consulting (Consultants for CORGI’s review of research done into gas safety).
32. Invited to give and gave evidence at the House of Commons to the inquiry undertaken by the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group on July 4th 2006 and submitted written evidence to the same inquiry.
31. Obtained a three year DoH grant of £34,000 per year April 2006.
30. Had a meeting with Duncan Sedgwick CEO of the Energy Retail Association – trade association of the largest gas suppliers. We tried to persuade ERA to allow us a meeting with the members and wanted to take some victims to meet those members but this was refused. However, we did at least obtain a meeting between Duncan Sedgwick and three directors of CO-Gas Safety and were told about the inquiry see 32.
29. CO-Gas Safety met with William Gillis, CEO of National Energy Action (NEA).
28. CO-Gas Safety was invited to take part in OFGEM’s Vulnerable Customer Consultation, although we were not invited to take part in the entire review despite vigorous lobbying to that effect.
27. In March 2006, CO-Gas Safety managed to obtain a meeting with the CORGI Trust and gave a presentation. Sadly nothing has come of this so far.
26. In February 2006, CO-Gas Safety took part in the HSE’s new Gas Safety Stakeholder Forum and co-operated fully with the new Fundamental Review being undertaken by Frontline Consultants.
25. Managed to obtain a meeting with Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Minister responsible for the Health and Safety Commission (sadly only through a friend of Stephanie Trotter’s).
PLEASE NOTE THAT FROM ABOUT THIS POINT THE CHARITY DECIDED TO PUBLISH MORE DETAILS OF ITS WORK AS IT SEEMED OBVIOUS AFTER 11 YEARS THAT EVEN THE MOST VITAL CHANGES WERE NOT GOING TO BE MADE BY GOVERNMENT OR INDUSTRY.
24. Arranged a sponsored walk with 35 participants along the Purbeck Way, October 2005.
23. CO-Gas Safety and Stephanie Trotter were presented with a Gas Safety Award at the Inaugural CORGI Awards by CORGI in June 2005.
22. Held a very successful 10 Year Anniversary Event of the founding of CO-Gas Safety at the House of Commons January 25th 2005.
21. Persuaded the fuel industry and others such as CO detector manufacturers to undertake a sponsored walk for us in the Isle of Wight in June 2004 to raise funds half for the charity and half to pay for a practice nurse to become expert in CO and advice to victims.
20. After over three years of constant requests finally won a place for CO-Gas Safety on the HSC Gas Safety Sub-Committee in November 2003. This committee consists of 63% industry and only 5.5% consumer representation (and this consumer representation is one body, Energywatch, a Government appointed body). CO-Gas Safety had been refused membership by the senior HSC committee, the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances. We took this issue up with Bill Callaghan, Chair of HSC and with David Eves, Deputy Director General of HSE and Consumer Champion. We also wrote to the Minister about it. Finally after a second application at the second (so far) open meeting of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances in September 2003, we were later given notice that we would be allowed to become a member of the GSSC. (Please note that these open meetings were instigated largely as a result of the campaigning by the recently late and great Alan Dalton.) However, although we are officially a member of the GSSC, there have been no meetings whatsoever since we were appointed.
19. Acquired the funding (funding from Centrica to match our DoH funding for three years).for a database and a website HYPERLINK “https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk” www.co-gassafety.co.uk in Autumn 2002.
18. Acquired the funding (funding from Centrica to match our DoH funding for three years) for an office and achieved this in summer 2002.
17. After much lobbying, writing of letters and numerous telephone calls, finally in July 2001, gained a place on two of the five HSE work groups (implementing the Recommendations).
16. Lobbied for and obtained a meeting with Lord Whitty on 14th February 2001 to express grave concern about the lack of implementation of the recommendations made by the DETR risk assessment of certain concrete flue liners, the dangers of death from the lack of further research and warnings and a discussion on the HSE Gas Safety Review. (Nine representatives from CO-Gas Safety attended and many more wanted to attend but numbers were restricted.)
15. Investigated a DETR risk assessment of certain concrete flue liners.
14. Wrote to Lord Whitty, DETR Minister and Kim Howells MP, Consumer Affairs Minister DTI, Bill Callaghan, Chair of HSE and Jenny Bacon (now ex Director General of HSE ) to object to failure to invite those who had responded to the small consumer document to the meeting on 11.09.00.
13. Attended stakeholder workshop held on 11th September 2000. Invitations only to those, who had made submissions to the main discussion document. CO-Gas Safety appeared to be the only consumer group to attend.
12. Lobbied for representation on the HSE Gas Safety Sub Committee with regard to the Recommendations to be published by the HSE in mid July 2000 – in fact published early August.
11. Lobbied for HSE to undertake a Fundamental Review into Gas Safety – done in 1999 –2000.
10. Presented a petition to Tony Blair PM at 10 Downing Street containing around 3000 signatures which were collected by CO Awareness (Wales) and Susan Woodford and Christopher Twiner, (parents of Laura Twiner, who died from CO aged just two years).
9. Held a Conference at the House of Commons with over 200 delegates. Opened by Kim Howells MP, Minister for Consumer Affairs. Chaired by Nigel Griffiths MP and supported by Fraser Kemp MP, SFA (Solid Fuel Association) and others.
8. MP Fraser Kemp’s Ten Minute Rule bill on Fuel Safety. This passed its First Reading with flying colours. The bill informed Parliament of the importance of action to stop CO.
7. Persuaded Coronation Street (Granada TV) to run a CO story.
6. Our draft Fuel Safety Bill – helped to show that it could be done.
5. Helped to persuade the Chief Medical Officer and the Department of Health to send out a special letter to GPs about CO poisoning.
4. Given help, advice and support to hundreds of injured people and bereaved families, at no expense to them. (But we are too small to do more than scratch the surface of this need.)
3. Raised awareness of the dangers of CO from solid fuel and the importance of servicing solid fuel appliances and chimney sweeping of all appliances. (Solid fuel and chimney sweeping were and probably still are, very neglected.)
2. Publication of our data. An average of about 30 deaths and about 300 near misses every year from accidental CO poisoning. We now have nine full years of data of CO incidents from all fuels from 1995. However, we are sure that these figures are the tip of an iceberg for many reasons.
1. Pushed for and achieved a British and European Standard for both CO alarms and flue gas analysers.
In this section
• All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG)
• Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
• Early Day Motions
• Law on CO Alarms
• Lawyers – Tell us
• Numbers affected by CO+
• Other Toxins
• Proof of CO
• Q & A about CO+
• Subscribe to CO-Gas Safety News
• Suggested Changes
• Typical Case
• Who funds us?
• Your Story
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