Over 30 public buildings breach fire rules

One in eight public buildings inspected in Northumberland last year were found in breach of fire safety regulations, figures reveal.

By Federica Bedendo
Monday, 20th September 2021, 10:29 am
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 5:47 pm
Fire safety checks
Fire safety checks

Home Office data shows 34 buildings inspected by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service in the year to March did not comply with fire safety laws – 12% of those inspected.

These included included seven shops, seven licenced premises and 49 six hotels.

When fire service inspections are unsatisfactory, auditors cab issue an informal notification, to agree an action plan; enforcement notices, warning that a building breaches the law; or a prohibition notice to restrict or ban access to a building.

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Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service issued nine formal notifications - including four enforcement notices and five prohibition notices.

With the number of inspections plummeting nationally due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of audits in Northumberland dropped by 149 to 278.

Nationally, 34,400 fire safety audits were carried out in 2020-21 – down 29% on the previous year.

Matt Wrack, the FBU's general secretary, said: "It is understandable that audit figures have dipped during the pandemic, but any shortfall in inspections needs to be made up.

"This may be difficult, though, with steep falls in the number of fire inspectors in recent years and that is a concern due to the building safety issues that have come to light since Grenfell and the increased number of buildings fire inspectors are responsible for."

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “Stopping fires before they start is the best way to keep the places where we work and live safe, which is our number one priority.”