Britain Announces Natural Gas Safety Program for Homes

Britain unveiled a new scheme on March 7 to improve the safety of its domestic natural gas network. Gas installers' registration will be simplified, and the government will take bids from companies interested in operating the system.

A single provider will be appointed to run the new scheme, with a new framework agreement between the Health and Safety Executive and the provider setting out performance criteria to provide for stronger HSE oversight. This new body may be given limited enforcement powers to help ease the problem of illegal, unregistered installers.

A stakeholder working group and forum have been scheduled for March and April to develop proposals for the installer registration system. The announcement included an 18-page consultants' report, dated January 2007, that says as many as 11 million households may have received no information about gas risks, and the potential threat to renters in particular is considered high. To read the report, visit www.hse.gov.uk.

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