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Fire safety and sprinkler systems

Published Friday, March 8, 2019

This pack has been prepared ahead of the debate to be held in Westminster Hall on Tuesday 12 March 2019 from 9.30-11am on fire safety and sprinkler systems. The subject for the debate has been selected by the Backbench Business Committee and the debate will be opened by Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Sir David Amess MP.

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On 26 February 2019 Jim Fitzpatrick and David Amess (who are leading the debate) set out their reasons for requesting this debate to the Committee. Mr Fitzpatrick said:[1]

The all-party parliamentary fire safety and rescue group—David is the chair and I am the secretary—strongly supports this bid to debate sprinklers. Sprinklers have been covered in a number of debates, especially post-Grenfell, but there has been no specific debate on fire sprinklers since February 2014, five years ago. There is a patchwork approach across the United Kingdom, with new regulations coming in in Scotland. Some have been introduced already, and others are coming in in 2021. There are new regulations in Wales on the requirement of fire sprinklers in residential properties, but there has not been much progress in England, despite a national campaign by the National Fire Chiefs Council.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has a consultation at the moment on Approved Document B, which is the guidance document covering fire sprinkler systems. The consultation closes soon and the Department will be considering this issue, so it is topical. Following Grenfell, obviously people are worried about a number of issues in terms of high-rise flats in their constituencies and the cost of replacements and remedial firework that has been going on. There are issues in care homes, residential places for elderly vulnerable people and, in particular, schools. There was a requirement for fire sprinklers in schools, from the 2008 guidance, which we would argue has been weakened. We are engaged in a lobby with the Department for Education about that. This would give the opportunity to articulate that.

Finally, we have a campaign running by the National Fire Chiefs Council on fire sprinklers, so we think the subject is relevant, topical and well supported, and we would very much welcome a 90-minute debate in Westminster Hall. We hope the Committee will be able to afford us that.

This pack contains background information on these issues as well as further information in news reports, press releases and Parliamentary material.

[1]     Backbench Business Committee: Representations, 26 February 2019

Commons Debate packs CDP-2019-0065

Authors: Nikki Sutherland; Edward Potton

Topics: Emergencies and disaster management, Fire services, Housing standards

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