For immediate release – Wednesday 15 March 2017
The Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG) has reviewed the recently released Government figures contained within the 2015-2016 English Housing Survey, and is pleased that they shed more light on the risks of accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning incidents potentially going unnoticed, but also calls for more progress to be made.
The percentage of houses containing CO alarms is shown to range from only 21% to 33% dependent of the type of property, averaging at 28% of homes. These figures are generally in line with estimates made by industry bodies such as the GISG and one of its member organisations CoGDEM (Council of Gas Detection & Environmental Monitoring), who believe that the use of CO alarms has slightly increased over recent years from about a quarter to about a third of relevant homes. There is still a lot of progress to be made before the population of CO alarms in use gets close to the population of smoke alarms, which is greater than 80%.
The GISG is particularly concerned that the figures show that the private rented sector has a significantly lower population of CO alarms than owner occupied dwellings, indicating that around 4 out of 5 rented properties are not protected by these potentially lifesaving devices. In October 2015 the Government introduced the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 for private rental dwellings, but these regulations currently only require the fitting of CO alarms in rooms containing a solid-fuel burning appliance. Some estimates show that only around 8% of the rental dwelling stock has solid-fuel appliances installed.
Both GISG and the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) would like to see the scope of this requirement extended to rented properties containing a heating or cooking appliance powered by any type of fossil fuel.
Chris Bielby, Chairman of GISG said:
“It is good to see some improvement in the number of homes protected by CO alarms, but it is disappointing that the figures do not show higher levels of use. GISG would like to see more protection of tenants, so with the Smoke and CO Alarm Regulations for the private rental sector being reviewed in October 2017, there is an immediate opportunity for an amendment to cover all fuel types, which would get the full support of GISG, APPCOG and CoGDEM.”
Barry Sheerman MP, CO-Chair of APPCOG said:
“There is a great opportunity this year for Westminster to bring the English landlord regulations more closely into line with those in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where CO alarms are required for rented properties with gas, oil or solid-fuel appliances. APPCOG believes this would be a simple change to make to the existing regulations.”
Leigh Greenham, Director of CoGDEM added:
“The fitting of CO alarms into rented properties has saved tenants’ lives, so it is logical for the relevant English regulations to be extended to ensure all landlords fit alarms, which should always comply with the tough safety standard BS EN 50291.”
Since its formation in 2000, the Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG) has brought together the UK’s gas industry to maintain and improve safety performance. GISG promotes gas safety by improving cooperation and coordination throughout the industry, sharing best practice, commissioning key research and providing an opportunity to address safety issues on a collaborative basis.
The Council of Gas Detection & Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM) aims to provide for the efficient organisation and development of the gas detection, gas analysis and environmental monitoring industry and to enhance the common interests of its Member Companies.
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.
English Housing Survey 2015 – 2016
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