HEALTH and safety chiefs have been attacked for delays in carrying out poison gas checks on thousands of Huddersfield homes.
The criticisms were made at a conference called by the Health and Safety Executive at Huddersfield Rugby Union Club in Lockwood Park yesterday.
The event was held to announce that carbon monoxide inspections will start on 17,000 homes on November 12.
The inspections follow the tragic death of 10-year-old Fartown boy Dominic Rodgers in February.
He died of carbon monoxide poisoning when the deadly gas leaked into the bedroom of his Spaines Road home.
It was given off by a boiler flue in a passageway between Dominic's home and his neighbour's house.
Dominic's mother, Stacey, was at yesterday's conference.
She said: "It is a relief that something is finally being done.
"It has been a long nine months. It feels like years."
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman and a representative of the charity CO Gas Safety, Stephanie Trotter, were stronger in their criticism of the time it has taken the HSE to organise inspections.
Mr Sheerman said: "It is a long time since the tragedy. Couldn't it have been done quicker?"
David Powell, HSE principal inspector for domestic gas safety, replied: "The reason it has taken a long time is that it is important to get procedures correct."
Those procedures will mean Kirklees Council building inspectors visiting 17,000 homes to identify which ones have passageways with flues.
Then, inspectors from gas piping firm Transco will visit the properties and decide whether the flues are safe.
Flues are not supposed to be in passageways, as carbon monoxide cannot disperse.
The Transco inspectors will disconnect wrongly placed flues and recommend alterations.
The cost of alterations will be met by the homeowner or landlord of rented properties.
But Mr Powell reassured people they would not face a winter without heating.
He said: "Kirklees will provide emergency heating and cooking facilities.
"I want people to co-operate with the surveys, as they could save people's lives."
Stacey Rodgers was also praised for the work she has done to try and save lives since her son died.
This has included making advice leaflets and raising awareness of carbon monoxide in children's magazines.
Mr Sheerman, who has also worked with Stacey, added: "She had no experience of campaigning when she started, but she's been fantastic."
Stacey herself was more modest.
She said: "If there is a life saved because of all this, it will be Dominic who has saved it.
"There isn't a minute of the day when I don't think about him.
"I would urge everyone to get their gas appliances checked every 12 months and get an audible carbon monoxide alarm. If I'd had one fitted, Dominic could still be here today."
* The inspectors from Transco and Kirklees Council will not need to enter people's homes.
But if you want to check their identity, contact Kirklees Private Sector Housing Unit on 01484 221392 or 07813 014278.
* If you smell gas in your home, phone Transco's emergency hotline on 0800 111999.
* If you are worried about the safety of a gas appliance, contact a Corgi-registered engineer to inspect it or call Corgi's hotline on 0870 401 2300.