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Broads Authority committee gives its support to carbon monoxide alarm scheme

PUBLISHED: 17:35 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:51 06 September 2018

Emergency services at the scene of a carbon monoxide boating disaster near Wroxham in 2016 Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Emergency services at the scene of a carbon monoxide boating disaster near Wroxham in 2016 Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Mandatory carbon monoxide alarms aboard boats making use of the Broads is a “no-brainer”.

This was the overall view of the Broads Authority’s navigation committee, as members discussed a national consultation into making the devices compulsory for boats with accommodation.

The Boat Safety Scheme is seeking views on making it a requirement for boats with living space to be fitted with carbon monoxide alarms, and members of the committee made it clear this is something they support.

In 2016, 64-year-old Alan Frost and 51-year-old Tina Wilkins died from the poisoning while moored on the River Bure near Wroxham, an incident spoken of at the meeting.

Michael Whitaker, one of the members said: “Obviously, the incident really brought the issue to our attention and I have always been a great supporter of carbon monoxide alarms.

“I wholeheartedly support it.”

Another member commented that the scheme was “a no-brainer”.

Max Heron, who was unable to attend the meeting, provided a written submission to the discussion ahead of the meeting, saying he had “strong support” for the scheme.

Steve Birtles, head of safety management at the Broads Authority, said it was important to note that while vessels with large petrol engines were one of the main sources of carbon monoxide, they were not the only ones at risk.

He said: “It must be remembered that large petrol engines are not the only things that can result in carbon monoxide poisoning - it can also be caused by things like cookers, heaters and barbecues.”

Mr Whitaker added that he was pleased that the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning through the improper use of barbecues had been acknowledged and said this was something he hoped could be stressed more.

John Ash, another committee member, did raise concerns about how the devices would be fitted to boats with open backed canopies.

However, as a whole, members gave their support to the proposals, which will be emphasised in the authority’s response to the Boat Safety Scheme’s consultation.

The consultation - found on the Boat Safety Scheme website - closes on Friday, November 9.

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