Anger after minister refuses to back fire safety campaign
A LETTER from a former Government minister about a Derbyshire campaign to make it compulsory for sprinklers to be installed in all new homes has sparked anger.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has received cross-party support in the city for its wish to see the building regulations changed so that sprinklers must be installed in new buildings.
Derby City Council backed the campaign with a motion put forward by Labour councillor Sara Bolton in July.
Following that, Councillor Hardyal Dhindsa, cabinet member for planning, environment and public protection, wrote to the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Andrew Stunell, who had responsibility for building regulations.
He asked him to introduce changes in the regulations which would see sprinklers required in all new homes.
But the response from Mr Stunell ruled that out – to the anger of Mr Dhindsa.
His reply said research into building regulations had been carried out and came to the conclusion that: "There was no new evidence that would justify revisiting the requirements for sprinkler protection at this time."
Mr Dhindsa was so disappointed with the reply he has drafted a letter to the new minister, Don Foster, who has since taken over.
Mr Dhindsa said: "Having a sprinkler system is like having a firefighter in every home.
"It can save lives. Derby City Council is committed to backing a campaign by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service to change building regulations so that sprinklers have to be installed in all new homes.
"We are disappointed with the minister's response and will continue to campaign on this matter which is of life-saving importance.
"I will now be writing again to the newly appointed minister and hope the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, agrees to revisit the legislation, as a matter of urgency."
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said it would press ahead with the campaign. It has been at the Grand Designs exhibition at Birmingham's NEC to promote the message.