No compensation for gas-leak businesses

Queens Road, Halifax gas leak. Queens business owners Don Hoggard, Elaine Winston, Zahid Chaudhary, Tariq Mahmood and Mohammed Azeem.

Queens Road, Halifax gas leak. Queens business owners Don Hoggard, Elaine Winston, Zahid Chaudhary, Tariq Mahmood and Mohammed Azeem.

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TRADERS were allowed back into their businesses in Queens Road yesterday after a three-day wait while engineers fixed a gas leak.

But it was a day of mixed emotions as Northern Gas Network confirmed the Halifax shop owners will not be entitled to compensation for loss of business.

The news was a bitter blow for the traders, some of whom estimate their losses at many thousands of pounds.

Mohammed Azeem, of A-Z Motor Factors, estimates his loss to be £10,000. “I’m not happy. They should understand our frustration and the amount of lost business, especially at this time. We’re normally busy at Christmas and our customers have been badly let down and businesses we trade with.”

Elaine Winston, of MK Consultants, which employs 12 staff, said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting.

“With these hard economic times, they can’t expect people to be able to carry on when they’ve lost all this business.”

Don Hoggard, of Gwen’s sandwich shop, estimates his losses so far to be £4,000.

He said: “I’ve two chest freezers full of food, with extra stock building up for Christmas and Mad Friday. I’m going to have to throw it all away.

“None of this is our fault so why shouldn’t they pay? We have business insurance but why should I use that when it’s not my fault – and my premiums will go up.”

Northern Gas said there was no entitlement to loss of business compensation under the regulations.

They will only receive compensation for loss of gas.

The spokesman said: “The figure for non-domestic customers will vary according to their annual gas usage and will be defined by their gas supplier. Payments are made automatically. Customers don’t need to take any action.”