South Yorkshire fire officers have welcomed the announcement that the government plans to introduce vital life-saving legislation on smoke alarms in rented properties ahead of the General Election.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue called for new laws requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in all privately rented homes, following the death of a young child in Conisbrough.
Libby-Jayne Hornsby, aged two, died after a fire at a rented property on Don Street, Conisbrough, Doncaster in October 2013. Fire investigators found no evidence of working smoke alarms inside the property, an inquest heard last year.
Campaigning on this issue, which will also require privately rented homes to be fitted with carbon monoxide detectors, has been led nationally by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA).
Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt MP, speaking at the Local Government Association conference in Gateshead, said:
“Fire and rescue authorities will be very pleased that tenants in the private sector are to be given the protection from fire that they need. We will be working with them, and with the Chief Fire Officers Association, to make the transition for landlords as smooth as possible.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Area Manager Phil Shillito, said: “The lack of legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in privately rented properties was highlighted at Libby’s inquest. Although we will never know for sure if smoke alarms would have made a difference at that incident, fire services nationally have been campaigning on this critical issue for some time, so it’s excellent that all that hard work has paid off.”
Preparations for the new powers requiring landlords to fit detectors in private rented homes have been completed, so the legislation will now be laid before parliament before the end of this parliamentary session.
The government’s own impact assessment suggested that over 200 lives could be saved nationally over the next 10 years by the introduction of this legislation. The draft new laws would be enacted by the Government as part of the Energy Act, which was given Royal Assent in December 2013.