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Industry calls for mandatory installation of CO alarms throughout UK
Published:  06 November, 2012

Industry welcomes the changes to Northern Ireland’s Building Regulations regarding the mandatory installation of Carbon Monixide (CO) alarms, and calls for compliance throughout the rest of the UK.

Introduced on 31 October, the new regulations make it a legal requirement to fit CO alarms in all homes where a new or replacement appliance, not used solely for cooking, is installed.

The Scottish government is currently consulting on introducing similar proposals.

The All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) is now calling for the government in Westminster and the Welsh Assembly government to follow suit and revisit their position on CO alarms.

England and Wales only legally require CO alarms where new or replacement fixed solid fuel appliances are installed in a home.

Baroness Finlay, co-chair of APPCOG, said: “We know that CO is a silent killer and can kill in minutes. CO alarms would not cost the government and legislation would save lives and thereby avoid health and social care costs through a tragedy.”

New research from Energy UK reveals that at least 35 million people are still at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning. In many cases, this is likely to be because people mistakenly think that their smoke alarm will detect carbon monoxide.

James Murray from Gas Safe Register said: “If we could ensure everyone has their appliances safety checked every year, more people would be safe from carbon monoxide. CO alarms are only a second line of defence, but vital to alert you of its presence.”

John Stones, managing director of Gas Safe Europe and inventor of Detectagas, emphasised that new legislation should address the whole risk by encompassing proper maintenance and testing.

While he recognised that the new regulations in NI were a definitive step forward, he said that recent tests by a number of well-respected safety organisations have shown that CO alarms in situ can’t be relied upon unless regular checks include the units’ sensors.

The cross party group of MPs will be meeting with the responsible minister, Don Foster MP, next month to urge him to reconsider his position on CO alarms.

Further guidance on the installation of CO alarms is available in BS EN 50292 and from manufacturers’ instructions.