Government Ministers today revealed that they have taken swift action to tackle an enforcement notice issued by Communities and Local Government against itself for breaking fire safety rules. The Department is the lead government body for fire safety and the fire services.
In February 2010, the Department issued a ‘Crown Enforcement Notice’ against the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, for breaking fire regulations in the department’s HQ in Eland House, London. This followed a safety inspection in November 2009 by fire staff employed by the Department.
The fire safety inspector warned the then Secretary of State that:
- a refurbishment of the atrium was dangerous and could ‘lead to uncontrolled fire-spread throughout the building’;
- a ‘fire risk assessment has not been adequately updated’;
- ‘smoke vents for the clearing of smoke on each floor are not being properly maintained’;
- ‘there is currently no cleaning regime of the extraction ducting serving the main kitchen within the ground floor restaurant’;
- fire marshals had not been appointed; and
- the ‘building is unable to support a phased evacuation’ due to the atrium changes.
New Ministers have now implemented all of the recommendations made by the fire inspectors (sprinklers are on course to be installed), and the Crown Enforcement Notice has been signed off by the fire safety specialists.
Bob Neill, Minister for the Fire Services, said:
Since learning of the Crown Enforcement Notice we inherited from the last administration, I have made it my priority to resolve this issue and practice what we preach. The new Government is committed to high standards of fire safety and we’ve now put our own house in order.
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