HC Deb 18 December 2000 vol 360 c10W
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many prosecutions have been initiated by the Health and Safety Executive in each of the past five years under the Gas Safety (Installation in Use) Regulations 1998. [142641]

Mr. Meacher

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use Regulations) 1998 replaced the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994. The number of informations laid in each of the last five years under these regulations is as follows:

Year Number
1995–96 113
1996–97 144
1997–98 223
1998–99 256
1999–2000 208

The 1999–2000 figures are provisional. Finalised figures for prosecutions in 1999–2000 will be available during April 2001.

Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to protect the public from the dangers arising from do-it-yourself gas fitting work; and if he will make a statement. [142640]

Mr. Meacher

By law only a competent person can carry out gas fitting work. The Government, the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive undertake various awareness-raising and publicity activities to make the public aware of this. The Executive's leaflets and its Gas Safety Advice Line explain that do-it-yourself work can be dangerous and is likely to be illegal. Retailers have been contacted to encourage them to remind purchasers of gas fittings about the importance of using only competent, registered installers for gas fitting work.

The Commission addressed this question in its recent Gas Safety Review. Its review report proposes increased publicity to discourage do-it-yourself gas work, more encouragement to retailers to provide 'point of sale' safety advice to consumers and encouragement to equipment manufacturers to include warnings in product literature.

While the Commission has concluded in its Review that there is insufficient hard evidence from incident data at present to justify the introduction of a legal ban, it has proposed that the Executive should introduce improved arrangements for the reporting of incidents and the identification of accident causation, including do-it-yourself activity, so that the scale of the potential problem can be more accurately assessed. It is envisaged that the legal position will be reviewed again when this information has become available.