Carbon monoxide campaign groups reach deal

There is a “profound case” for installing carbon monoxide alarms in air-tight Green Deal homes to help guard against CO poisoning, according to Local Government minister Don Foster MP.
At a meeting on Tuesday 18th December with the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) and several CO campaign groups, the minister also supported APPCOG proposals for a government-led public information campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning across the UK.
The minister further promised to act as an advocate for carbon monoxide safety within government, and agreed that DCLG must work more closely with the Department for Health to better collate data and research on the effects and prevalence of carbon monoxide poisoning.
As many as 4000 people each year are diagnosed with low-level carbon monoxide exposure, with a further 200 admittances to hospital with serious injuries, and 50 fatalities every year. However, it is thought that the true numbers may be considerably higher.
Over the last twelve months the APPCOG has been lobbying government to amend Part J of the Building Regulations. Currently, Part J of the Building Regulations states that a carbon monoxide alarm must only be installed in new homes that have a solid fuel appliance, such as a wood burning fire. The APPCOG’s proposed amendment would see the safety measure widened to include all new homes in England that have a fuel appliance of any type – a step recently taken by the Northern Ireland Assembly to apply to all Northern Ireland homes.
The amendment is, according to Barry Sheerman MP, co-chair of the APPCOG, a “common sense yet vital step in the fight against the UK’s tragic, unnecessary CO death toll”.
In the meeting however, Don Foster MP confirmed there is currently no appetite in Government for enacting such measures, instead pledging to work with the APPCOG and carbon monoxide charities in other ways to help tackle CO fatalities.
Given the relatively low cost of fitting a carbon monoxide alarm in comparison to the total cost of the Coalition’s Green Deal energy efficiency improvements programme, the APPCOG has long campaigned for the Government to make the installation of a carbon monoxide alarm, where one is not already present, a requirement in all Green Deal homes. Despite the Group previously having received assurances from Energy Minister Greg Barker MP that these steps would be taken, there has yet to be any progress made. The APPCOG welcomed Don Foster’s offer to look at ways he could help the Group in its drive to ensure the Government honours its promise, ensuring Green Deal homes are CO safe.

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