Thursday, 15 June 2017

When the Welsh Assembly was ahead in fire regulations.

After Yesterdays Tower Block tragic fire It is important to note that Wales  in 2011 become the first country in the world where sprinklers will be compulsory in all new homes.
The law applies  to newly built houses and blocks of flats, as well as care homes and university halls of residence.
It was passed unanimously by Welsh assembly members after being proposed by Labour backbencher Ann Jones.
She said the legislation would save lives and showed how devolution could make a positive difference.
Law-making powers were drawn down from Westminster for the legislation.
Appealing for AMs' support in the Senedd on Wednesday, Vale of Clwyd AM Ms Jones said: 
"The times I have had to say to people a sprinkler system will not go off unless there is a fire at 68C.
"It won't go off if you burn your toast. It won't go off if the pizza's burning. It will only go off when there is a fire and when it goes off that saves those lives.

She added that sprinklers had been in existence since 1885.
"It saves the lives of the people, it saves the lives of firefighters having to go into burning buildings and it just makes sense to get on and do it now."
The building industry had its chance to fit sprinklers in all new homes, but it was now time to legislate "so we can make people's lives in Wales a lot safer", 
Speaking after the legislation was passed, she said: 
"Not many of the votes we pass here save lives - that one did."
The measure was backed by Wales' three fire and rescue services, the Chief Fire Officers Association (UK), the Fire Brigades Union and many sprinkler campaigners, including the National Fire Sprinkler Network.
The National House Building Council (NHBC) said it had a neutral position on the policy, but raised some questions during the consultation process regarding cost effectiveness and whether existing water pressures would enable sprinklers to work in many homes.
The Then Welsh Secretary David Jones in 2013 however  blamed Welsh government red tape for a fall in the number of new homes built.
Mr Jones said figures showed there were 32% fewer homes registered in Wales in the year to May to July this year. In England they were up by 34%.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Mr Jones said over-regulation was to blame for the fall in new homes being built in Wales.

"The consequence of this over-regulation is that fewer houses are being built in Wales.""Regulations on builders are considerably more onerous than in England - including the bizarre proposal to fit every new house with a sprinkler system," he said.
In a message to ministers in Cardiff Bay, he added: "Cut the red tape that is pushing builders out of the Welsh market.
"Use devolution as something that can give Wales a competitive edge in the global race, rather than as an excuse to regulate."
 However, Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones, who steered through the sprinkler legislation in the Senedd, said Mr Jones was "obsessed with denigrating fire sprinklers".
Mrs Jones added:
 "I am shocked and appalled that David Jones thinks that saving lives is bizarre. The installation of sprinklers is designed to do one thing: save lives."He has repeatedly spread disinformation about the law and scrutinised the plans and said there was no evidence that the costs would have a significant impact on the housing market.
"Too many lives are lost and homes devastated as a result of house fires."
A Welsh government source accused Mr Jones of spending his week at the Tory conference "talking down Wales".
"Instead, he should be explaining why he has become a roadblock to boosting the construction sector and growing the Welsh economy, by adamantly opposing the devolution of stamp duty to Wales," the source said.
"It's now clear David Jones is now running out of allies. He has put himself at odds with [London Mayor] Boris Johnson, who has called for to stamp duty to be devolved to London - for precisely the same reasons we want it devolved to Wales.
"He repeatedly talks of more onerous regulations in Wales than in England - without producing any evidence to back up this claim.
"On sprinklers, he is also at odds with his own party colleagues in the Welsh assembly, who voted for the legislation.
"He is also contradicting the views of his cabinet colleague, [Communities Secretary] Eric Pickles, who believes that 'domestic sprinkler systems can save lives and that is a price worth paying'. We agree."
It would be wrong to claim that  the above legislation would have  prevented  yesterdays tragedy, but it shows our much derided Assembly can be a pioneer in so many things if it has not only the power but the will o do so,

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