Social housing sprinkler plan receives overwhelming support

Image by Brandon Leon – Flickr: Day 25: Fire Sprinkler, CC BY-SA 2.0

Proposals for mandatory fire sprinklers in new-build social housing have been met with overwhelming public support, Scottish Labour has revealed.

Consultation responses for David Stewart MSP’s member’s bill proposal which would place a duty on local authorities and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) to install automatic fire suppression systems into all newly constructed social housing showed that 94% of respondents were supportive of the plan.

A BBC Scotland investigation in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people in the North Kensington tower block last June, found there are no sprinklers in over 300 high-rise buildings managed by Scottish councils and social landlords.

On the strength of this consultation result, Mr Stewart said he will pursue his bill and has lodged a final proposal with the Scottish Parliament.

The bill now needs the support of 18 members from across the party groups on the Scottish Parliamentary Bureau.

Labour MSP David Stewart said: “I am delighted with the overwhelming support for my proposals to increase fire safety in Scottish social housing.

“The consultation responses came from across the breadth of Scottish society and the quality of the responses have given me a strong base upon which to proceed with the bill.

“Automatic fire suppression systems should be a crucial part of our fire safety approach and are a tried and tested method of saving lives.

“By focusing on social housing, my bill aims to protect some of the most vulnerable in our society, where the risks of fire are highest.

“My hope is that such a common sense proposal will have the support across all the Holyrood parties and in the long term will be just the first step towards fire sprinklers protecting all Scottish homes.”

Keith MacGillivray, chief executive of the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), said: “The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association are pleased to see the strong public support for the proposals by David Stewart MSP to improve fire safety in Scotland by requiring the installation of automatic fire suppression systems (sprinklers) into all new-built social housing.

“BAFSA has campaigned for almost forty-five years to improve the safety of the public and Firefighters by the installation of automatic fire sprinklers, which control and extinguish fires in their very early stages.

“Automatic fire sprinklers have a proven track record for the mitigation of fire and the prevention of loss of life through fire, this goes back more than one hundred years.

“This proposed member’s bill would make a significant difference to the safety of the Scottish public and firefighters while ensuring that Scotland’s housing stock is more sustainable.”

The consultation summary is available on the Scottish Parliament website.

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