HC Deb 16 June 1971 vol 819 cc416-7
2. Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to improve, and make mandatory, the fire regulations contained in the model standards appertaining to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act, 1960.

Mr. Graham Page

The primary need, I think, is to ensure that fire-fighting conditions attached to caravan site licences are effectively enforced. I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary about this in view of his general responsibility for fire matters.

Mrs. Oppenheim

Would my hon. Friend not agree that these standards which are 10 years old, are out of date and inadequate and require the local authority to impose only such conditions as it believes to be desirable, and that subsequent Ministry circulars have actually advised local authorities not to apply these standards rigidly or automatically even where they are appropriate? Could he say how many deaths and serious injuries have occurred as a result of caravan fires over the past two years?

Mr. Page

On the last part of my hon. Friend's question, I cannot estimate how many deaths there have been, but the increase in the number of fires on caravan sites is serious and somewhat frightening. The important thing is for the regulations to be enforced and I can assure her that the model regulations could be effective if properly enforced. On the particular occasion which I think she has in mind, the facts were that some of the buckets and hand pumps had disappeared and the equipment was all out of order.

Mrs. Oppenheim

In view of the seriousness with which I view this matter, I give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

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