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The Gas Safety (Rights of Entry) Regulations 1996

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

1.  These Regulations confer rights of entry upon “public gas transporters” and “relevant authorities” to enter premises for the purpose of preventing gas escapes, the examination and disconnection of “gas fittings” and other related purposes. The Regulations, which supersede the Gas Safety (Rights of Entry) Regulations 1983 (“the 1983 Regulations”), are made in consequence of amendments to the Gas Act 1986 (“the 1986 Act”) by the Gas Act 1995.

2.  The Regulations do not apply to gas being processed or stored at a gas processing facility (regulation 3).

3.  Regulation 4 enables a “public gas transporter” through its authorised officers to enter—

(a)in respect of escapes or suspected escapes of gas which it conveys, any premises(regulation 4(1)); and

(b)in respect of escapes or suspected escapes of gas which is conveyed by another person, premises which are or are reasonably believed to be within its “authorised area”(regulation 4(2)).

4.  Regulations 5 to 10 (which re-enact with drafting amendments regulations 2 to 8 of the 1983 Regulations)—

(a)enable authorised officers of “the relevant authority” to enter premises of consumers to examine and test in such premises “gas fittings”, flues or means of ventilation used in connection with “gas fittings”, and any “service pipe” and other apparatus used for the conveyance or supply of gas or which is connected with a gas main and where they consider it necessary for the purpose of averting danger to life or property, to disconnect and seal off any “gas fitting” or part of the gas system or cut off the premises or signify the refusal of “the relevant authority” to convey or, as the case may be, allow gas to be conveyed to the premises (regulation 5);

(b)provide for consumers to be notified as to the nature of the defect or other circumstances in consequence of which any “gas fitting” or part of a gas system has been so disconnected or sealed off, or the premises have been cut off or the conveyance of gas has been refused (regulation 6), and enable them to appeal to the appropriate Secretary of State who at present is the Secretary of State for the Environment whose principal office is at 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 3EB (regulation 7);

(c)prohibit the reconnection of any “gas fitting”, part of a gas system or any premises, or cause gas to be conveyed to any premises except with the consent of “the relevant authority” or in accordance with directions given by the Secretary of State in consequence of an appeal (regulation 9); and

(d)make contravention or failure to comply with these Regulations an offence punishable on summary conviction with a maximum fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (at present £5,000)(regulation 10).

5.  The only changes of substance in the re-enactment of regulations 2 to 8 of the 1983 Regulations are—

(a)a qualification to the prohibition on reconnection of any gas fitting or premises following disconnection (regulation 9(2)); and

(b)the increase in the maximum fine for a breach of the Regulations from £1,000 to £5,000.

6.  Regulation 11 of the Regulations revokes the 1983 Regulations.

7.  The expression “the relevant authority” is defined by section 18(9) of the 1986 Act—

(a)in relation to dangers arising from the conveyance of gas by a public gas transporter, or from the use of gas conveyed by such a transporter, as meaning that transporter; and

(b)in relation to dangers arising from the conveyance of gas by a person other than a public gas transporter, or from the use of gas conveyed by such a person, as meaning the Secretary of State.

8.  The expressions “authorised area”, “gas fittings”, “service pipe” and “public gas transporter” are defined in section 48(1) of the 1986 Act.

9.  Section 18(8) of the 1986 Act provides that, with appropriate adaptations, the Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954 (c. 21) (which provides that, other than in case of emergency, powers of entry shall not be exercisable except with consent given by or on behalf of the occupier of the premises or under the authority of a warrant) shall apply to the powers of entry conferred by these Regulations.

10.  A copy of the cost benefit assessment prepared in respect of these Regulations can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive, Gas Safety Policy Section, Safety Policy Directorate, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS. A copy has been placed in the Library of each House of Parliament.

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