To: Press Association
CC Amber Rudd Energy Secretary; Dr Nigel Griffiths; Lord Philip Hunt; Lady Masham; Lord Steve Bassam; Baroness Dianne Hayter; Miscellaneous CSI Members and Colleagues; Relevant European Colleagues
Some twenty-five years ago Gas Expert, the late Tony Pompe, who owned his own Testing House, informed me of many things about the Gas World. In particular I often questioned Tony on his opinion as to the amount of deaths and injuries that were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. This was not just in holiday accommodation abroad for data for Consumer Safety International (CSI) but I was keen to know his views on the UK. A common quote was 30, 40 or 50 CO deaths and around 4,000 UK A&E CO incidents annually. Tony was very sceptical about these figures. After another case of two CO deaths in Brighton at Christmas 1994, I decided together with Dr Nigel Griffiths (former Shadow Consumer Affairs Minister) to form and launch CO-Gas Safety to particularly address CO problems in the UK. We elected to then pass it to Mrs Stephanie Trotter because we were too busy to run both of the charities. She eventually collected CO Incidents that were recorded in media outlets and related with some coroners.
Stephen Hadley is a Gas Engineer who is linked with ANEC (Brussels) as well as the European Commission. I was totally shocked to hear Steve’s news from National Grid that 9,500 CO Incidents, in 4 summer months, were recorded in their operational region. Add another 8 months on the year and a guesstimate would be 28,500. With the other transporter companies (ie Scotia Gas, NGN, SGN, and Wales and West Utilities) a further guesstimate would be approximately 171,000 reported CO Incidents per year in the UK simply from gas. Shocking but not surprising. It corroborates Tony Pompe’s opinion all those years ago. As Tony would say “I wonder what the financial burden is on the NHS”. Tony was described by many as not only a real gentleman but a gaseous guru. Our Gas Expert, Harry Rogers, said Tony was a genius.
CO Detectors have a use. However, they do not prevent CO health damage and consumers should not be dependent upon them as they certainly do not alarm quickly enough at low levels. We understand 1 in 4 may be faulty – many more in America. For safety purposes, there must be regular SERVICING – NOT “simply checks/inspections”. Government and the Gas Industry must surely now take some proper action after these latest revelations from National Grid figures. (The above does not include CO Deaths and Injuries from oil, wood, coal etc.) UK Government intervention is urgently needed to work with relevant parties in Europe.
Molly Maher, CSI President
CSI Gas Expert Harry Rogers
Advisor to the relevant D-G at European Commission Stephen Hadley
Molly Maher, President of Consumer Safety International (CSI) – A charity committed to reducing accidents in domestic commercial and holiday accommodation, including their facilities, worldwide and provides advice and assistance to accident victims and their families.