David Stewart to Consult on Law To Make Sprinklers Mandatory in All New Social Housing

16 January 2018

David Stewart is proposing to bring forward legislation to make the installation of sprinklers mandatory in all new-build social housing.

If enacted, David Stewart’s bill would place a duty on local authorities and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) to install automatic fire suppression systems into all newly constructed social housing.

Prior to the Grenfell disaster, fire injuries and deaths in Scotland have been significantly higher than the rest of the country.

In 2015-16, there were 5,673 dwelling fires in Scotland, 46 per cent higher per million inhabitants than in England and Wales.

Fires are also more prevalent in areas of socio-economic deprivation.

The 2009 Scotland Together Report into Scottish fire deaths and injuries found that 31 per cent of all accidental dwelling fires occurred in the 15 per cent of most deprived areas of Scotland.

The same report found that, despite only constituting approximately 25 per cent all Scottish dwellings, social rented housing accounted for 40 per cent of all accidental dwelling fire deaths.

Sprinkler systems are highly effective at preventing the spread of fires and limiting the damage they cause. There has been no instance of multiple fire deaths in Scotland where a working sprinkler system was installed.

David's proposal will begin a consultation period running until 16th April this year, and will also seek views on what action can be taken to retrofit sprinkler systems into existing high-rise social housing stock.

He said:

“Fire safety is a significant issue in Scotland, and house fires are more prevalent in areas of socio-economic deprivation. 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.

“Councils in Angus, Fife and Dundee already install sprinklers into their new developments as standard and I want to see this approach extended all over Scotland.

“My consultation opens tomorrow for 12 weeks and I would encourage as many members of the public and organisations as possible to respond.”

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