Project Shout campaign calls on England and Wales to follow Scotland in mandating use of carbon monoxide alarms in any domestic rooms with a fixed combustion appliance such as a boiler
Campaigners are calling for England and Wales to follow Scotland in legally requiring a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm be fitted in any room with a carbon-fuelled system such as a boiler.
The calls have been made by Project Shout, a national campaign launched in 2015 to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. The campaign is supported by heating specialists, healthcare professionals and fire and rescue services.
A major focus of the campaign at present is to end variations across the UK with regard to the legal requirements for fitting carbon monoxide alarms by ensuring a consistent standard that would apply across all domestic property types at a national level.
Under Scotland’s updated Scottish Tolerable Standard that comes into effect from February 2022, carbon monoxide alarms are legally required in all rooms containing flue-burning appliances such as boilers or stoves. This will now be a legal requirement in all forms of housing in Scotland, having previously applied to private rented housing only.
Project Shout said that it would welcome the very same regulations to be introduced in England and Wales after authorities published a consultation earlier this year that recommended extending regulations for carbon monoxide alarms in both countries. The government’s consultation backed use of these alarms alongside installation of any fixed combustion appliances with the exception of gas cookers.
The same consultation has also backed amending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 to require both private and social landlords to install a CO alarm for any room used as living accommodation that contains a fixed combustion appliance.
CO poisoning concerns
A Project Shout spokesperson said that around 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Thousands more are treated in hospital for exposure to the gas. Heating engineers and other specialists were seen as having a major role in building awareness and ensuring occupants were protected when fitting or servicing boilers or other systems.
The campaign group stated, “Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelt or tasted, which is why an alarm is the only way to detect its presence. However, due to the lack of awareness of CO and CO poisoning, there are an estimated 56 per cent of homes throughout the UK unprotected by an alarm, leaving almost 37 million people at risk.”
“That’s why it is crucial for heating professionals when visiting customers to complete installations, services or other essential maintenance on gas or solid burning appliances to make customers aware of the dangers of CO, whilst also recommending and installing alarms to ensure they are adequately protected.”
Any alarm being fitted should comply with British Standard EN 50291 and carry a recognised British or European approval such as the Kitemark, according to Project Shout.
The campaign said, “The alarm should be placed between one to three metres away from any fuel burning appliance, with additional alarms also recommended for installation in highly populated areas, such as bedrooms and living rooms, for additional precautions.”
“It’s also extremely important that engineers encourage customers to test their CO alarm regularly, as 80 per cent of residents in properties that do have an alarm admit that they have no idea whether it works or not, as they never test it.”