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Government to review CO alarm regulations

A number of potential amendments will be considered during process, including whether to require CO alarms to be fitted wherever heating systems are in place

A government review of carbon monoxide alarm regulations that is set to launch later this year will consider whether a blanket requirement should be introduced that would require the devices to be in place for all forms of heating systems. This would include both gas and oil appliances.

The proposal will be among a number of considerations to be reviewed by government over what kinds of changes may be needed to existing laws, as well as understanding what impact the current cost of alarms is having on installation rates. Research into carbon monoxide poisonings will also be considered as part of the review’s remit, with ministers than considering what reforms may be required going forward.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced the review after ongoing discussions with MP Eddie Hughes, who has been pushing for regulatory reforms on CO alarms to extend their use to all social housing tenants and forms of combustion heating appliances.

Mr Hughes has previously proposed fresh legislation to parliament to introduce these changes through a Private Member’s Bill.

Housing minister Dominic Raab said it was important to look at the current adequacy of laws to ensure they can protect residents.

He said, “Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer and my top priority is to ensure people remain safe and protected in their own homes.”

MP Eddie Hughes welcomed the review as an important step to tackle the issue of CO poisoning.

He added, “I look forward to the outcome of the review and will continue to campaign for improved safety to protect others from the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Regulatory change

The government has added that any potential amendments introduced following the review will also be subject to the outcomes of the separate review of building regulations being overseen by Dame Judith Hackitt and a government consultation on alarm use in private rented properties.

A ministry statement said, “In 2015 the government introduced new regulations requiring private rented sector landlords in England to have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.”

“Whilst there is a downwards overall trend for carbon monoxide poisonings, the government has continued to raise awareness about the risks posed by combustion appliances and the measures available to reduce the risk of poisoning.”

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