Electrical Safety First launches fire safety-focused manifesto for Scotland’s homes
13 March 2021
AHEAD OF the Scottish Parliament election in May, consumer protection charity Electrical Safety First has launched a manifesto designed to help reduce the foremost cause of fires in Scottish homes.
Electricity causes nearly three-quarters of all house fires in Scotland each year. In 2019 alone, incidents cost the Scottish economy an estimated £35 million. The personal cost is, however, incalculable and, not surprisingly, older and vulnerable people are most at risk.
Electrical Safety First’s manifesto contains five key asks of the next Scottish Government and elected MSPs to protect people and property from electrical risk. Central to these is a call for an integrated approach. In short, a cross-Government plan for electrical safety. In this way, intelligence can be shared and the evidence base improved to help ensure better targeting of resources, and particularly so for the most vulnerable in society.
Despite electricity being the primary cause of Scotland’s domestic fires, housing legislation and standards are subject to a ‘tenure lottery’ with different ‘levels’ of safeguards for different tenures. That being so, Electrical Safety First is also calling for a common housing standard for electrical safety. In this way everyone, regardless of tenure, would have equal protection from electrical risk.
Safeguards against dangerous, sub-standard and counterfeit electrical products – particularly those available online – is another issue Electrical Safety First wants to see addressed, along with the development of a simple and straightforward route for consumers to find registered electricians.
“While our manifesto offers pragmatic and cost-effective recommendations to improve electrical safety in Scotland’s homes at present, it also looks to the future,” explained Lesley Rudd, CEO of Electrical Safety First. “We want to see the new Scottish Government provide a clear focus on the many future challenges for electrical safety, from the decarbonisation of heating in our homes through to the mainstreaming of electric vehicles.”
Rudd continued: “We are urging the new Government and elected members to champion electrical safety in the next session of the Scottish Parliament. We want people to ask their prospective representatives to support our manifesto and our recommendations for safer Scottish homes.”
Commenting on the Government’s announcement of its plans to review and strengthen the UK’s product safety laws, Rudd said: “This welcome news offers the Government a vital opportunity to finally put an end to the sale of sub-standard and often lethal electrical goods via online marketplaces. The exponential growth of online shopping has left consumers at more risk than ever before of unknowingly purchasing dangerous products via these unregulated sites. The UK now has an opportunity to champion product safety by finally ensuring that online marketplaces have a legally binding Duty of Care towards consumers to ensure the safety of the items sold via their sites. We look forward to working closely with the Government on this issue and on the strengthening of product safety laws more generally.”
*To read Electrical Safety First’s full manifesto for the Scottish Parliament’s 2021 election, and also discover how to support its recommendations, click here or visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/scotland
**Electrical Safety First is the consumer safety charity dedicated to reducing the number of deaths, injuries and accidents caused by electricity. The organisation is recognised by Government and industry as the leading campaigning charity and technical authority on home electrical safety