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Gas Safety

Volume 403: debated on Thursday 10 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will amend the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations (GSMR) 1996 to include (a) mandatory competence of employees of gas conveyors and their sub-contractors in line with the provisions of paragraphs 3 and 4, Part B, Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for operatives working downstream of the emergency control, (b) a duty of publication of the safety case required of gas conveyors and emergency network co-ordinators by paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of the GSMR and (c) maintenance of the 12 hour limit for the prevention of gas leaks in paragraphs 7(4) and 7(5) of the GSMR. [102244]

The Health and Safety Commission is currently reviewing the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations (GSMR) 1996, and has set up a working group representing industry, consumer, Government and other stakeholders to consider these and other issues. The Commission plans to publish a consultative document later this year. The outcome of this consultation will inform any advice that the Commission may offer to Ministers on amending the Regulations.

The Health and Safety Commission also published, on 25 March 2003, a Policy Statement on Permissioning Regimes. The statement sets out the Commission's approach to be followed both when developing new permissioning regimes, including safety case regimes, and when reviewing existing regimes. The statement includes criteria for the disclosure of safety case information to the public. The forthcoming consultation on GSMR will provide an opportunity to seek views on application of these criteria to the publication of GSMR safety case information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what annual rate of replacement of iron mains was achieved by Transco for the year 2001–02; what annual rate of replacement is predicted by Transco for 2002–03; and what assessment he has made of whether Transco is on course to achieve the annual rate of replacement needed to meet the target required by the HSE's gas mains replacement programme. [102243]

The Health and Safety Executive does not hold this information in exactly the form requested1. The information that Transco have provided to HSE is available as follows:Transco's mains replacement programme has two elements. The Medium Pressure Ductile Iron Mains replacement programme and the other mains replacement programme.

Medium Pressure Ductile Iron Mains replacement programme
1 Jan 01 to 31 Dec 011 Jan 02 to 31 Dec 02
Actual1089km1400.8 km
Other Mains Replacement programme
1 Jan 01 to 31 March 021 April 02 to 31 March 03
Budget996 km1225km
Revised Forecast21216km
Actual1101 km932 km (as at 28 Feb 2003)

Notes:1 Transco's mains replacement programme originally ran on a calendar year basis. In 2001, this was changed to a financial year i.e. a 15 month period. However, because the improvement notice required the work to be completed by 31 December 2002, Transco continued to provide data on progress with Medium Pressure Ductile Iron Mains (MPDI) replacement on a calendar year basis i.e. January to December.

2 The forecast for the 02/03 other mains replacement policy was revised downwards because the focus of Transco's work was on the compulsory work being carried out to meet the requirements of the Medium Pressure Ductile Iron Mains Replacement Policy.

HSE's current assessment is that Transco will meet the revised forecast target for 2002–03. The data for the full year will be available shortly.