Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has been rebuked and fined in court for failing to ensure gas safety checks.
The failure endangered people’s health after carbon monoxide leaked from the gas boiler at a community centre. Those attending a bridge club meeting at Westlands Community Centre in Whitfield Avenue called the fire service to deal with the suspected gas leak on 30th March 2009.

The fire fighters who responded recorded extremely high levels of carbon monoxide escaping from the flue in the loft and ordered the evacuation of the building. Examination of the heating system revealed sections of the flue had detached, permitting the dangerous gas to accumulate and emerge through an open trapdoor into a storeroom off the main hall.

Investigation revealed that the contract for maintenance and annual safety checks of all gas appliances in the Council’s 38 properties, including 9 households, had lapsed 12 months previously. The 30-year-old boiler at Westlands Community Centre had not been checked for nearly 2 years.

At Fenton Magistrates’ Court Newcastle Borough Council admitted breaching S.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and r.5 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 for which it was fined £20,000 with £25,550 costs.