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NI Minister agrees to meet installer groups

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has deferred making a decision on whether or not it will shadow the move in Britain to install Capita as gas installer registration scheme provider.

The Minister responsible, Arlene Foster, has agreed to meet with installer representatives to hear any concerns they may have about the decision and consultation process.

The HSENI has opened a consultation to take views on board before making a decision and said no changes would be made until 1 April 2010. The consultation exercise, which started on 20 January, is backed by a Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly and is expected to run until late March.

The consultation will consider two options, adopting the new British installer registration scheme, or Northern Ireland devising a standalone scheme.

A number of trade associations including the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering and the Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation wrote to Ms Foster, the minister responsible for gas safety in the Northern Ireland Assembly, requesting a meeting to discuss these proposals.

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster, said: “The current consultation by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) into the future shape and scope of a gas installers' registration scheme only serves to underpin my view of the paramount importance of ensuring a robust gas safety regime in Northern Ireland.

“As part of this engagement I have agreed to meet a deputation representing various gas installer trade associations to hear at first hand their views on the future of the registration scheme. I would, however, stress that this meeting should not deter them from also responding directly to the consultation exercise.

“Finally, may I say that to avoid any doubt or uncertainty amongst gas installers, CORGI will continue to run its registration scheme for a further year in Northern Ireland. This will allow time to consider the outcome of the consultation, agree a way forward and ensure synergy with the activities of HSENI's new Gas Safety Unit which will come fully into operation in the autumn of 2009.”