§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions his Department has had with manufacturers, retailers, Gas Board officials and consumer organisations regarding the safety, thermal efficiency and standards of log-effect gas fires; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Norman Lamont
The safety aspects of log-type gas fires are covered by British Standard Specification BS5258 Part 12.
I understand that, when this standard was drawn up, the British Standards Institution followed its usual procedure of consultation with a number of interested bodies, including the British Gas Corporation, the Institute of Gas Engineers, the Society of British Gas Industry, the Con- 258W sumers' Safety Advisory Committee and my own officials.
As far as thermal efficiency is concerned, over 170 organisations, representing manufacturers, consumers, fuel suppliers, local authorities and independent experts, were consulted by the Department in August, 1979, about proposals to make it obligatory in law for a wide range of heating appliances (including log-effect fires) to comply with the efficiency levels set in relevant British standards. In view of the generally favourable response to this consultation, and our obligations under Directive 78/170/EEC, the Government expect to bring a Bill incorporating provisions to this effect before Parliament in the near future. Meanwhile the British Standards Institution is working towards a British standard covering the thermal efficiency of log-effect fires. Discussions have so far been confined to a small group of technical experts, but BSI will undertake its usual public consultation when the work is further advanced.