HC Deb 06 April 1965 vol 710 cc231-2
26. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Minister of Power if, in view of the number of fatal accidents occurring due to gas leaks, he will state what information he received, in agreeing the general programme of the Scottish Gas Board, as to when non-noxious gas will be supplied.

Mr. John Morris

The development programme of the Scottish Gas Board provides for the reduction of the carbon monoxide content of gas sent out to 5 per cent. in the next four or five years.

Mr. Dempsey

But is my hon. Friend aware that Scottish public opinion is disturbed at the ever-increasing number of tragedies due to gas leaks in general? Will he bear in mind that these unfortunate fatal accidents are occurring among the oldest and youngest sections of the community? Can he say that by a prescribed date we will be able to enjoy the service of non-toxic gas which will eliminate such accidents?

Mr. Morris

The figures for Scotland show that the number of deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning has fallen substantially during the last two years. As regards the old people, other measures taken by the Board to prevent gas poisoning accidents include the supply of special cookers for handicapped people and regular inspection of appliances in the homes of old and handicapped persons.

Dr. Miller

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that the de-toxicated gas has been rendered as innocuous as it can be? Does not he agree that it still contains too high a proportion of carbon monoxide for safety?

Mr. Morris

With respect to my hon. Friend, I must point out to him that there have been substantial advances in this field in recent years, and that an average figure of 5 per cent. carbon monoxide content should be reached in Scotland within two or three years.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that much of the difficulty arises in connection with old property? Does he further agree that the position might be improved if there could be a regular inspection of gas supplies to older buildings?

Mr. Morris

I have said that the boards give every possible assistance to handicapped and old people.