Industry News

New housing minister appointed

Workers jailed for unsafe gas work

The serious risks taken by unqualified gas engineers has been demonstrated with prison sentences handed down by the courts, after successful prosecutions by the Health & Safety Executive. Gareth Scott Redford, a plumber, was given

a 16 months prison sentence at Cambridge Crown Court for carrying out unsafe gas work at four properties in the Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire areas. Concerns were raised about his work in 2014

The relatively unknown Reading West MP, Alok Sharma has been appointed as the new housing minister. He was previously a junior minister in the Foreign Office and becomes the 13th housing minister in the last 16 years following the defeat of Gavin Barwell in the general election. An MP since 2010, Mr Sharma originally trained as a chartered accountant and worked in banking for 16 years. It is unclear what his specialist knowledge or relevant experience is for the housing brief, although it is being reported he voted in favour of the bedroom tax and in cuts to welfare spending. Housing is not listed among his interests on parliamentary websites.

and the residents separately made complaints to Gas Safe Register. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards (CCCTS) found Redford was not registered and his work was deemed unsafe, putting the residents at risk of harm. Redford pleaded guilty to 14 breaches

under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Fraud Act 2006.

Flue In a separate case, a self-employed gas fitter

was imprisoned for 14 months at Manchester Magistrates Court after installing a new boiler without being Gas Safe registered. Michael Trent Algar pleaded guilty after an investigation by the HSE found he left a gap between the boiler and the flue, which allowed gases to enter the property. The resident contacted another Gas

Engineer who found the flue had not been replaced properly. He deemed this as immediately dangerous and it was reported to Gas Safe Register. The Court heard that Algar was not Gas

Safe registered and has never been registered. He had received advice from HSE on previous occasions in relation to similar matters. Algar pleaded guilty to breaching three

charges under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and received a 14- month custodial sentence. After the hearing HSE inspector Lisa Bailey said “The residents were very lucky. If they had not acted as quickly as they did, the consequences could have been devastating.

18 | HMM July 2017 |

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