Replace lead pipes, says specialist

​Market-leading independent drainage and water supply pipe specialist Auger - serving the UK-wide insurance industry from its base in Wallasey - is calling for lead pipes to be replaced rather than repaired wherever possible.

The use of lead in water pipes has been banned since 1970 because of its harmful effects and government advice is that the public should ‘limit its exposure to lead from all sources, including drinking water.’

Now Auger wants the wider UK insurance industry to look more seriously at replacing not repairing as a principle which it believes will help insurers and end consumers.

Chris Cowen, client relationship manager for Auger, said: “We’re asking the wider insurance industry to support this initiative. This is dependent on both insurers and customers contributing financially, but is a far better use of the claim spend and reduces any risk for both parties.

“If insurers commit to it and offer a full replacement it means the pipe is fixed for the long-term, with fewer claims in the long run.

“For customers, the benefits are peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that there is no risk of harm from lead and that the supply will be clean and continuous for many years. It is win-win, but needs commitment and we’re asking insurers to be forward thinking.”

Around one third of all properties built before 1970 in the UK are believed to still contain some level of lead plumbing, with possible harmful effects including damage to kidneys, the circulatory system and the brain, with children and pregnant women most vulnerable.

Many claims for lead pipes end with a repair which can often lead to further leaks. New replacement pipes will usually be made of polyethylene, a plastic which will not degrade and should provide a supply without leaks for many years.

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