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New report puts pressure on government to protect renters with carbon monoxide alarms in post-Grenfell building regulations review

New report puts pressure on government to protect renters with carbon monoxide alarms in post-Grenfell building regulations review

8th November 2017

With public scrutiny on the building regulations review following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) is calling for government to protect renters from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by requiring landlords to fit alarms by law on Tuesday 7th November, 4pm, with Minister for Housing & Planning Alok Sharma.

The All-Party Group’s report argues that the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower reinforces the need for a fundamental health and safety review, and that requiring landlords to fit CO alarms will protect the most vulnerable in our society – the fuel poor, low-income households, the elderly and children.

The APPG also points out that CO alarms are far more affordable than when the rules were reviewed in 2015, and that regulations could be simplified to make landlord responsibilities far clearer.

Figures show that:

  • 2.7 million renters are at risk from dangerous gas appliances (Gas Safety Trust)
  • Private registered provider rentals and private rentals are on the rise: at 2.43 million and 4.85 million respectively
  • In its 2017 White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, Government has promised to improve safeguards in the private rented sector
  • Dr Andy Shaw’s research, of Liverpool John Moores University, has identified that deprived areas were less likely to own an audible CO alarm than homes in non-deprived areas
  • Research by Energy UK has found that less than half (46%) of university students who rent have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm

The report is the result of a number of roundtables with sector experts, academics, charities such as the Gas Safety Trust and case studies from survivors.

Barry Sheerman MP, Co-chair of the APPCOG and CO campaigner following the death of a child in his constituency said:

“Housing regulations have become a pressing issue – with pressures on housing market provision, more people moving into the rental market, and the population growing, we have to make sure that people are safe and secure in every home from CO.”

Conservative Member of Parliament for Walsall North, Eddie Hughes – who recently introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill on CO regulations – commented:

“Research, lived experiences and data all demonstrate that now is the time to take action to protect families where they live.  This report is especially timely as the Government looks to achieve its commitment to safeguard the more vulnerable in our society.”

Abbie Sampson, director of external affairs at Energy UK, and CO Be Alarmed! Spokesperson, who oversaw their student research, said:

“We support this report as we know from our research private renters are at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning with one in three without a life-saving CO alarm. Eight in 10 felt that the rules should change, and we have been calling on the Government to extend the 2015 regulations to protect all private renters – not just the 8% with a solid fuel-burning appliance.

In the meantime, we urge all tenants to follow our simple ABC checklist to protect yourself from this silent killer – Do you have an Alarm fitted? Have you tested it and are the Batteries working? Have you had an up to date gas Check?”