Housing provider will not be prosecuted over gas failings

Luminus, Huntingdon,

Luminus, Huntingdon, - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon-based social housing provider Luminus will not be prosecuted over breaches of gas safety regulations, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.

But Luminus, which owns more than 7,000 properties, has been warned that it could be prosecuted in future “without further warning” if any other breaches are found.

Former county councillor Paul Bullen raised concerns with the HSE after a Government report said tenants had been “exposed to the risk of serious harm” when it found that Luminus had failed to comply with gas regulations in more than 1,000 of its properties.

The HSE has now written to Mr Bullen to tell him the results of an investigation it carried out.

Its letter said: “It is clear from the evidence obtained, breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 have occurred. However, it has been decided that no further action (such as legal proceedings) will be taken in respect of this matter by the Health and Safety Executive.

“For confirmation, the breaches considered were: Failure by Luminus Homes Ltd to ensure their gas appliances were checked for safety within 12 months (during 20115-16). Subsequent inspections of the properties identified 43 appliances were classified as either ‘at risk’ or ‘immediately dangerous’.”

The letter told Mr Bullen: “Luminus Homes Ltd had made these appliances safe before your concern was received by HSE.

Most Read

“However, their legal duties made plain and if in future, evidence comes to light of similar offences by them, they may be prosecuted without further warning.”

Mr Bullen, former leader of the UKIP group on Cambridgeshire County Council, said the situation went back some time after he started looking into the way Luminus worked after receiving complaints from tenants.

He said: “I think it is an utter travesty of justice that they have not been prosecuted.”

A Luminus spokesman said: “In June 2016, through our internal audit process, we identified a problem with the servicing of gas boilers. At this point, and under the supervision of the board, an action plan commenced to ensure that servicing of all gas boilers was brought up to date.

“By mid-January 2017, some 11 months ago, we achieved full compliance with the regulations and have remained compliant since that time.

“Luminus co-operated with the HSE and the Homes and Community Agency’s investigations into this matter. The chair of our board wrote to all our tenants in April 2017 to apologise. We have taken steps to ensure it does not occur again by reorganising aspects of our maintenance team and introducing new procedures and regular reports to the board.”

In June last year, The Hunts Post reported how Luminus chief executive Chan Abraham stepped down.