Bookings are being taken and the anticipation is building, ahead of the BCGA Annual Conference 2011 set to take place in Manchester, UK this April.

The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) will once again bring members of the UK gases scene together, under one roof, at the charming and welcoming Marriott Worsley Park Hotel and Country Club.

Held on 7th April 2011, the 2011 conference will provide a programme of speakers that includes members of the BCGA’s Technical Committees as well as external representation from an array of organisations and guest speakers.

Notable external representation includes the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the Acetylene in Fires project, and the Association of Welding Distribution (AWD).

Phil Brickell will take to the stage to discuss EIGA developments, having been appointed as the association’s General Secretary in April 2010 and with 25 years international experience in the industrial gases industry. Brickell will provide an update on recent developments in the structure of EIGA, its aims and activities, and the future direction of the association as its relationship with national associations evolves.

The HSE’s Clive Dennis will describe the issues relating to illicit fillers of beverage gas cylinders and related cylinder testing during his presentation entitled, Adventures in Beverage Gas Land. As part of his similarly titled presentation, the Adventures of a Gasman, guest speaker John Raquet will talk about the dynamics and prospects of the industrial gases business.

Raquet is the founder and Managing Director of the Spiritus Group, an international consultancy specialising in the global industrial gases sector, and a regular speaker/commentator to the financial institutes in Europe and the US. On the BCGA stage in Manchester next month, he will provide an overview of recent trends and developments in the industrial gases sector and the future expectations.

Presenting the progress made in an ongoing development, Sir Ken Knight and BCGA Chief Executive Doug Thornton will discuss Acetylene in Fires. Sir Knight is the government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, advising Ministers and senior officials on policy matters including the structure, organisation and performance of fire and rescue services and crucially, providing advice during major and catastrophic emergencies.

Supported by Thornton, Sir Knight will present on the culmination of the three-year research project conducted by BAM Germany on acetylene cylinders in fires – and the revised procedures of the UK Fire & Rescue Service, which this work has justified.

‘Several steps forward’
The 2011 conference is keenly anticipated after the success of last year’s event, which once again upped the ante and flew the flag for safety and innovation in the UK gases business.

Held at the same venue as next month’s gathering, the BCGA Annual Conference 2010 unveiled a feast of firsts for both the association and industry alike, as the BCGA unveiled significant safety progress on several fronts. Indeed, Chief Executive Thornton described it as proof that the BCGA was once more ‘punching above its weight’.

Speaking immediately after the conference drew to a successful closure, he told gasworld, “It’s been another cracking BCGA conference, in-keeping with the success and progression made over the last three years.”

“We’ve made several steps forward, key steps forward for the industry, and as you’ve seen today, the BCGA continues to punch above its weight,” he added.

Back then, the association proudly announced significant safety progress achieved with colour coding of certain UK gas cylinders; the BCGA managed to instigate change with the agreement that there is to be change to the colour coding of cylinder bodies. The gases industry collectively agreed that in future, all medical gas cylinders in the UK will carry uniformed white bodies. As a further feather in its cap, the HSE was in attendance to accelerate this change.

In another breakthrough, last year’s conference also presented a ‘first’ of a different, greener nature – the introduction of TSC8, a new environment-focused technical committee. Hydrogen fuel cell announcements were delivered, complemented by the showcasing of a hydrogen concept vehicle just outside the conference room.

Now, Thornton is looking ahead to another triumphant conference this year, when the BCGA unites the British gases community yet again. Bookings for the event next month have been taken since January and are still open as this March issue of gasworld magazine reaches mailboxes the world over.

For those interested in booking as a full delegate, this package includes the conference itself, documents, lunch and light refreshments, the sumptuous reception and annual dinner, single accommodation for the night of 7th April, and breakfast the next morning. Day delegates take in the conference, documents, lunch and light refreshments only.

Thornton encourages, “I’m grateful to the committee which helps put BCGA Conferences together. We seem, in recent years, to have found the right balance of being informative and interesting alongside having some fun. I have no doubt the line-up for 2011’s event will make for another great conference – be sure to be there by booking early.”