BURNLEY has been branded a gas danger zone after 15% of appliances were found to be unsafe.
A gas safety campaign, piloted in the North-West by the Gas Safe Register over the past six months, checked gas appliances in more than 1,600 homes in the region and found one in five were unsafe, which could have led to gas explosions, fires, leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Gas Safe Register also targeted illegal gas fitters preying on residents and putting lives in danger. During the pilot, 94 illegal gas jobs were investigated and one in 10 (11%) of victims’ homes were left in a seriously dangerous condition and the register’s team had to shut off the gas immediately.
One such case was that of Mrs Yvonne Tierney-Neave, from Burnley. The agency through which she rented her property hired an illegal gas fitter to carry out work at her property. The work was found to be immediately dangerous while also emitting deadly carbon monoxide.
Gas Safe Register’s own data revealed that, in a 12-month period from June 2011, 640 (8%) of the 8,004 homes checked in the North-West were found to be unsafe.
These inspections also revealed danger hot-spots with Burnley coming second to Crewe, which had the highest level of unsafe appliances at 17%.
Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas safety is a life or death matter. This is a really important campaign, as residents across the North-West can find out how unsafe their area is and take action to protect themselves.
“By signing up to have an annual safety check and following a few simple tips, people can avoid explosions, fires, gas escapes and carbon monoxide poisoning, which has already affected far too many people in recent years.
“This is the first time we have targeted a specific region and tried to change people’s behaviour and it goes to show how successful our efforts can be.”
Gas Safe Register has created an online gas map tool at www.silentkiller.co.uk and further information is availble at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or by calling 0800 408 5500.