15 kitchens closed in Hampshire gas crackdown

15 commercial kitchens in the Hampshire district of Hart have been closed this summer after council inspectors found they had gas leaks or unsafe gas appliances.

Hart District Council began a project in May to identify unsafe gas appliances and pipework in catering establishments across the district.

Figures released by the council suggest local food outlets are in dire need of help from suppliers and distributors to ensure they are complying with the latest gas guidelines when using commercial catering equipment.

Out of 50 inspections of gas appliances that have now taken place, eight premises were closed by the Gas Emergency Service due to gas leaks. Another seven were closed either voluntarily or through the service of a prohibition notice.

Six improvement notices were also served where equipment was found to be ‘at risk’.

In addition, two unregistered gas engineers were found to be working in the area and another two were working on appliances for which they were not qualified.

The number of companies failing gas inspections is particularly concerning given that all commercial catering premises were written to before the inspections took place, informing them of the campaign and their obligations to make sure that gas installations and appliances were safe.

Councillor John Kennett, portfolio holder for community safety, licensing and environmental health, said: “The Council prefers to guide and educate kitchen operators about ensuring that their equipment poses no dangers but when they take no notice of advisory letters then we have a duty, to both employees and members of the public, to ensure that premises are safe.”

Visits were carried out in conjunction with Gas Safe engineers with prohibition notices being served where appliances were considered immediately dangerous.