A new carbon monoxide safety project funded by Wales & West Utilities has launched, in partnership with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The launch of the 12-month partnership has been marked by the publication of a new carbon monoxide (CO) safety hub https://www.rospa.com/policy/home-safety/carbon-monoxide-hub) to bolster safety among families, tenants and landlords. RoSPA will also run a series of campaigns throughout the year to keep people aware of the dangers of what’s been dubbed ‘the silent killer’.

Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, provided the £100,000 funding to RoSPA through its Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA).

With the boundaries between home, work and leisure often blurred and the cost-of-living crisis, research from Gas Safe Register has found that nearly 31 per cent of people will skip their annual gas safety check, increasing the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

Carbon monoxide, is known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. It kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Even low levels of exposure over an extended period can cause serious health issues, including brain injuries.

Philip Le Shirley, Product Safety Advisor at RoSPA, said:

As a charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of our communities, we are delighted to receive funding from Wales & West Utilities to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and look forward to working together to make the nation safer over the next 12 months.

The publication of our new carbon monoxide safety hub is the perfect way to start our collaboration, and contains impartial, nationally recognised, independent advice to keep people safe from harm.”

Sophie Shorney, VCMA Manager at Wales & West Utilities, said:

RoSPA is perfectly positioned to initially reach its members who are passionate about safety with key information, and we are delighted to provide the funding to allow them to do so, so that more people can stay safe from the dangers of CO.

We’ve seen the impact of bills rising and the concern from homeowners and tenants in how this will affect their ability to replace older, inefficient gas appliances, so are delighted that this project specifically seeks to address the safety aspect of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and the steps people can take to keep themselves, and their families, safe and warm in their own homes.

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £25m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Funding is distributed through the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.

If you have a project that you think Wales & West Utilities could support, either individually or collaboratively with other gas networks, then contact Wales & West Utilities at VCMA@wwutilities.co.uk.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night.

For more information please visit: (https://www.rospa.com/policy/home-safety/carbon-monoxide-hub)