HC Deb 13 April 1981 vol 3 cc2-3W
23. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what study he has made of consumer problems arising from blocked flues and other chimney difficulties; what steps he is taking to improve public knowledge in this area; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

158 deaths were reported in England and Wales in 1979 from accidental poisoning by gas and vapours. In most cases the cause appears to be the incomplete combustion of gas and other domestic fuels such as coal, smokeless fuels and oil used in domestic heating appliances. For safe operation, these appliances need a constant supply of oxygen with adequate means of conveying the products of combustion, which can be poisonous, into the outside air. If the appliances are not kept in good order or are used with blocked chimneys orflues, or in rooms without adequate ventilation, the occupants may be in danger of death from monoxide poisoning. I understand that this risk may be largely prevented by householders taking simple and in most cases relatively inexpensive precautions.

It is my hope to launch a safety campaign, the purpose of which will be able to draw attention to the hazards and the means of preventing them, before next winter. I am glad to be able to tell the hon. Member that bodies promoting the sale of heating appliances and fuels, and organisations concerned with home safety, have offered to co-operate fully in this campaign.

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