HC Deb 14 March 1955 vol 538 cc946-7
40. Miss Bacon

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the death through coal gas poisoning of Mr. and Mrs. Grant and their child, of Lewis Street, Leeds; and, in view of this and the increasing number of similar cases, what further steps he intends to take to prevent loss of life caused by defective gas mains.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Yes, Sir. At the request of the Gas Council, the Institution of Gas Engineers has undertaken a special survey of gas main fractures with a view to finding out the causes and how they can be eliminated.

Miss Bacon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is great public anxiety about these accidents? Is he further aware that a fortnight ago, in answer to a Question of mine, his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health said that for the year ended September, 1954, there were 669 cases of accidental deaths in this country through coal gas poisoning To allay public anxiety, will the Minister do everything he can to expedite the survey which is now being made?

Mr. Lloyd

I share that anxiety. It is, unfortunately, an unexpectedly complicated problem, because the idea that it is simply the old gas mains which give this trouble is not borne out by the facts. Quite new gas mains in perfect condition have suffered from this trouble in severe weather. That is why the special engineering investigation is being made. With regard to the broader problem which the hon. Lady mentions, it is particularly a problem of older people and we are in touch with the old people's organisations with regard to it.

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