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Progress in 2018: Advancing CO safety

Progress in 2018: Advancing CO safety

14th December 2018

2018 was a busy and promising year for CO safety. The APPCOG has helped trigger the Government’s ongoing review into CO alarms, worked to support vulnerable people including festival goers and boat owners, and supported the work of others in the CO community.

CO Alarms

Much of 2018 was spent making the case for CO alarms to be required in all tenures. Earlier in the year we worked with CO campaigners to support Eddie Hughes’ MP Carbon Monoxide (Detection and Safety) Bill. We advanced our recommendations from 'Carbon monoxide alarms: tenants safe and secure in their homes', which the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee announced their support for in April:

“We support the finding of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) that legislation should be amended to make it explicit and mandatory for landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms in the rooms of private rented properties containing any fuel-burning appliance."

Shortly afterwards, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a review into CO alarms in response to Eddie Hughes' MP Bill. The APPCOG’s role in triggering this review was quickly recognised, as we were invited onto the review’s working group. The APPCOG took this opportunity to strengthen the case for new regulations, pushing for an expansion of regulations to cover all-fuel burning appliances across all-tenures. We have also advanced our policy recommendations by engaging with Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP via our Co-chairs and tabling Parliamentary questions to raise the profile of CO in Westminster.

CO and Fuel Poverty

In October, we hosted our 'Vulnerability, Fuel Poverty and Carbon Monoxide' roundtable, which was chaired by Liz Twist MP and sponsored by Gas Tag. The roundtable raised significant issues around the effectiveness of the Energy Company Obligation, the Priority Services Register and the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme in lifting people out of fuel poverty and protecting them from CO poisoning. In response to these discussions, we are pursuing further research into fuel poverty in 2019.

CO safety at festivals

In June, the APPCOG launched its 'Carbon Monoxide Safety at Festivals' campaign in Parliament. Our launch event brought together Parliamentarians, festival providers and medical professionals to raise awareness of the risks festival goers face on festival sites. The APPCOG also went on tour, visiting Glastonbury and providing information on avoiding CO poisoning risks from items such as disposable barbeques.

Supporting the CO community

Another success was 'Gas Safety Week', which raised awareness of how people can keep their relatives and wider community safe in their homes. Our September reception event brought together many Parliamentarians and members of the CO industry to highlight the importance of CO safety. We look forward to continuing our support for Gas Safe Register in their efforts to raise awareness of CO and stop dangerous gas appliances.

The APPCOG also supported the Carbon Monoxide (CO) Safety Competition. Organised by the Gas Distribution Networks, the competition saw children aged 5-11 make informative and creative projects that raise awareness of CO amongst students and their families. This year’s competition received over 1,500 entries, with 9 winning awards at a Parliamentary reception hosted by the APPCOG and attended by many of the winners’ MPs. We were heartened to see so many children made aware of CO and its risks, and cannot wait to see what next year’s competitors create.

Last, but certainly not least, the APPCOG has been supporting the Boat Safety Scheme’s (BSS) efforts on CO alarms. This initiative followed an unfortunate double fatality in 2016 from CO poisoning, which prompted the BSS to consider new safety requirements to protect boat owners on inland waterways. The APPCOG worked alongside the BSS to advise and promote their consultation, and we strongly support the introduction of new mandatory CO alarm requirements which represents an exemplary case of industry self-regulation.

Looking to the future

We’re incredibly proud of these achievements and want to thank all our Parliamentarians, members and sponsors, without whom none of this would happen. Yet we cannot become complacent if we want the promise of 2018 to be realised, as more work is required to eradicate deaths and injuries from CO poisoning. To that end, the APPCOG have exciting and ambitious plans for 2019 that we’ll share with you all in next week’s article.