Welsh Government to look again at evidence before buying controversial ozone disinfecting machines
The Welsh Government will consult with experts before buying controversial ozone disinfecting machines for over £3m, they have said.
On Monday Nation.Cymru published an article by GP Dr Eilir Hughes questioning the use of the machines developed by researchers at Swansea University.
Both Plaid Cymu and the Conservatives later also raised questions about the use of the machines, with the former saying that they “need to be satisfied that Welsh Government is absolutely certain that they are a safe option before introducing them”.
The Welsh Government has now told the BBC that their Technical Advisory Group will look at results of early trials of the machines “before any procurement process begins”.
They had announced on Monday that funding for more than 1,800 ozone disinfecting machines would be provided for schools, colleges and universities throughout Wales.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies responded to the latest announcement by branding it a “chaotic start to the school term, with announcements made by Labour ministers before experts have even looked at the detail”.
“The return to school of our children has to be the priority – not gimmicks and chasing headlines,” he said.
The ozone disinfecting machines, costing £3.31m, would reduce cleaning times, improve disinfection and reduce costs.
“This investment in CO2 monitors will help improve air quality, while the disinfecting machines will enable classrooms to return to normal use quicker,” Education Minister Jeremy Miles had said.
“This supports our common goal of ensuring learners can continue learning together with their teachers and friends.
“But we must keep our guard up against Covid-19. These measures will complement, rather than replace our current advice – which includes ensuring hygiene is maintained, and washing hands thoroughly and more often than usual.”
They will also fund 30,000 CO2 ‘traffic light’ monitors, costing £2.58m. These will include sensors which provide a visual signal of deteriorating internal air quality.
The monitors will alert teachers and lecturers when CO2 levels rise, notifying them when air quality needs to improve, thereby aiding the control of ventilation during the winter.
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Rewind to the original decision – on what technical basis was the initial decision to buy made ? or was that decision based on some sales pitch with minimal critical appraisal ? The comment that we now wait for the results of early trials suggests that the initial decision took place without any kind of pre launch testing. Bit like taking a leaf out of the Boris and Hancock’s procurement practice guide, such as “page 1 try flying by the seat of your pants until challenged.”