Liverpool Council signs up for ‘UK first’ safety scheme

Paul Durose

Liverpool City Council has agreed a ground-breaking initiative to provide life-saving technology that will tackle the dangers of illegal gas fitters and keep tenants safe.

The announcement comes during national ‘Gas Safety Week’ (September 17-23) which sees organisations from across the UK working together to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

In a first of its kind agreement, Liverpool City Council is working with pioneering tech company Gas Tag to issue gas safety technology to the city’s 7,500 landlords who manage 30,000 private rented homes.

The ouncil has worked with Gas Tag to provide access to the technology for free to registered private landlords in the city.

It is also calling upon the Government to make this type of technology mandatory for all landlords.

Every year there are an estimated 1.1million rogue jobs completed by illegal gas fitters in the UK, putting households at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.

From the rogue jobs that the Gas Safe Register investigated, three in five are left in unsafe condition and one in five appliances were deemed so dangerous they had to be disconnected immediately.

Carbon Monoxide affects all ages, the most vulnerable being the elderly and the young which accounts for 50 deaths per year, and as many as 4,000 medical visits, according to the Department of Health.

Alarmingly, it is reported that CO poisoning is on the rise this year with more than 500 cases identified in under 18s.

Now, there are emerging technologies that provide new ways to help stamp out rogue gas fitters, such as the Gas Tag system that checks engineers’ Gas Safe credentials in real-time.

This partnership also comes as a review of the private rented sector argues that a “property MOT” should be imposed on landlords to make sure homes are up to scratch.

The Evolving Private Rented Sector report suggests the MOT could bring together current requirements such as electrical and gas safety certificates and help drive up standards in rented homes.

The Gas Tag is installed on the gas outlet in a property which tracks all the property’s gas appliances, services and installations – and can only be used by a qualified Gas Safe Registered engineer.

It’s the same technology as Oyster Cards on the London Underground, so that when an engineer arrives at a property, they touch their mobile phone against the tag.

That engineer is then geo-tagged and a live link to the Gas Safe Register checks their qualifications in real-time.

It stops rogue gas engineers in their tracks and provides landlords – and more importantly – tenants with peace of mind that the correct work has been carried out by a qualified engineer.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “We’re pleased that Liverpool is the first council in the UK to spearhead this innovative partnership. Thanks to pioneering technology, we can help landlords improve the levels of safety within their property.”

Paul Durose, chief executive of Liverpool-based Gas Tag said: “I’m delighted that Liverpool City Council has the vision and foresight to embrace this ground-breaking technology, making it the safest city in the UK – if not the world – for renters.

“Our mission is to drive rogue gas fitters out of business before they can put more lives at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning – or worse.

“By working together, we will make it as difficult as possible for illegal gas fitters to operate.”