Illegal gas work in UK cities

Two-thirds of illegal gas work found to be unsafe, data reveals

Two-thirds of gas work carried out by illegal gas fitters across the UK was found to be unsafe, according to research carried out by Gas Safe Register.

The research found that, over the last five years, 66 per cent of gas work carried out by illegal gas fitters across the UK was found to be unsafe. However, since April 2017, this figure has increased to almost seven in every 10 appliances investigated (69 per cent).

Data from Gas Safe Register’s Investigations Team has also revealed the top 10 cities in the UK at risk of living with dangerous gas appliances from illegal gas work.

Central London tops the list with three quarters (75 per cent) of illegal gas work found to be unsafe. Supporting this figure, data from the London Fire Brigade shows that, in 2017, firefighters were called out 569 times for carbon monoxide (CO) related incidents.

The Top 10 unsafe cities in the UK, ranked by the percentage of illegal gas jobs that were found to be unsafe by Gas Safe Register’s Investigations Team, are:

  • Central London – 75 per cent
  • Nottingham – 72 per cent
  • Sheffield – 71 per cent
  • Outer London – 70 per cent
  • Manchester – 69 per cent
  • Ipswich – 67 per cent
  • Cardiff – 66 per cent
  • Norwich – 66 per cent
  • Edinburgh – 62 per cent
  • Birmingham – 62 per cent.

Gas Safe Register, with support from the HSE and charity Project SHOUT, is highlighting to consumers the dangers of using illegal gas fitters.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, says: “The findings from our investigations shows how dangerous illegal gas work can be. Don’t cut corners and always check you are using a Gas Safe registered engineer so you’re safe in the knowledge that they are legally qualified to work in your home. To check your engineer is on the Gas Safe Register, visit and always ask to see their Gas Safe ID card when they arrive on your doorstep.”

During 2017, the HSE, which is responsible for prosecuting unregistered gas fitters, issued more than £800,000 in fines, while prosecutions have resulted in a combined five years of jail time.

Zoe Hadley, campaign director at Project SHOUT, a national campaign raising awareness of the dangers of CO poisoning, says: Research shows that over 16 million households in the UK could be at risk from the effects of CO poisoning. We are reminding everyone of the importance of making sure your gas appliances are checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer so they have peace of mind that their appliances are working safely. It is important to be aware of the dangers of using an illegal gas fitter and the dangers it can pose on your family.”

Gas Safe Register has also issued advice that consumers can use to protect themselves against illegal gas engineers and the risks of CO poisoning:

  1. Only employ a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. Gas Safe Register is the official register for legally qualified engineers. Find a registered engineer in your area by visiting the Gas Safe Register website at or by calling 0800 408 5500
  2. ‘Don’t cut corners’ and always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which states which gas appliances they are qualified to work on
  3. If you suspect that someone is an illegal fitter or are worried about gas work being carried out in your home, contact Gas Safe Register.

Consumers should also follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips to protect themselves and their families from CO poisoning:

  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999
  • Never attempt to work on a gas appliance yourself. Always seek the help of a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer who can work on your gas cooker, boiler or fire in a safe way.

More information about the dangers posed by unsafe gas appliances can be found online by visiting

To find a Gas Safe registered engineer, consumers can call 0800 408 5500 or visit or, on social media, search @GasSafeRegister and #DontCutCorners.

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