Scotland could lead the way with sweeping new fire safety legislation for social housing projects. MSP David Stewart wants sprinkler systems installed in all new high-rise social housing developments. He has launched a consultation on a members’ bill for changes to current laws.

Mr Stewart was moved to act after inquires showed many high-rise social housing developments do not have modern fire suppression systems. A review was carried out following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. The Scottish government has admitted that sprinkler systems are one of the options being considered for improved fire safety.

Grenfell tragedy prompts calls for sprinklers

After 71 people died as a result of the tower block fire in North London, the BBC carried out an investigation that showed more than 300 high-rise flats in Scotland have no fire suppression systems in place. Figures obtained by the BBC suggested 15 people have died and a further 480 people injured in fires in high-rise buildings in Scotland – all since 2009.

If Mr Stewart manages to push through the members’ bill, councils and social housing providers will be required to fit sprinkler systems in all new social housing builds. His consultation is expected to run until April 16.

Grenfell a ‘scandal’

Mr Stewart told the BBC: “The scandal of Grenfell last summer was that protection was not available to those who were most in need.

“That is why I am making this common sense proposal to ensure all new social housing has a sprinkler system installed. This simple change in law is a practical step that will save lives.”

Sprinklers to be considered ‘very carefully’

Housing minister Kevin Stewart told MSPs t the end of last year that the Scottish government had “gone further on sprinklers than have other parts of the UK”, but said the ongoing review would consider the matter “very carefully”.

The BBC reports that a spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: “Residential sprinklers are one of a number of fire safety measures currently being considered by our review into building fire safety standards chaired by Dr Paul Stollard.”

 

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