A group representing all the local authorities in Scotland has called for a “holistic approach” to fire safety in domestic homes and flats.
In response to a consultation on a private member’s bill by MSP David Stewart, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) called for preventative work to encourage safe behaviour, fire and smoke alarm provision and all parties being prepared to “take the right actions at appropriate times”.
The response by COSLA’s policy manager, Nicola Dickie, also questioned whether proposals in the private member’s bill covering only new social housing or retrofitting high-rise blocks would “adequately address risks across Scotland”.
It adds that COSLA believes the need for robust fire safety measures in Scotland “cannot be understated”.
“In our response to the fire and smoke alarms consultations we also highlighted difficulties that may arise around retrofitting of interlinked alarms in high-rise accommodation containing mixed tenure properties – given the challenges already faced in getting agreement in mixed tenure properties for other interventions this may well prove to be the case for any requirements to fit automatic fire suppression systems also,” the response states.
“We would also highlight difficulties having certain type of requirements on social rented accommodation (either at new build or retrofitted for social high-rise) from those in owner occupier and private rented sector.
“This could add confusion across the piece and we suggest any proposed legislation would need to be accompanied with media campaigns to ensure everyone understands the differences between tenures and reasons for them, supported with relevant evidence.”
The consultation on the private member’s bill was launched before Scottish Government confirmed at the start of April 2018 that they will introduce legislation that will extend the existing high standard of protection from smoke and fire – currently required in private rented housing – to all homes across Scotland.
“The practical, financial and legislative implications of this commitment are currently being determined making it difficult to assess how this new requirement could impact on the contents of this consultation,” the response adds.
“We note this consultation is being undertaken prior to any recommendations from the Ministerial Working Group having been made on the use of automatic fire suppressions systems in domestic buildings – to that end it may therefore be more beneficial to revisit the proposals contained within this consultation alongside any recommendations the group may go on to make based on evidence gathered and assessed by same.”
To read the full COSLA response, click here: https://www.cosla.gov.uk/documents