§ Mr. French
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to make the fitting of sprinkler systems to all large retail premises mandatory;
(2) what representations he has received about the fire safety of supermarkets and superstores; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Charles Wardle
We have received three written representations about the use of sprinkler systems as a means of controlling the spread of fire, preserving life and minimising fire damage in supermarkets and superstores.
Under present arrangements the installation of sprinklers in new superstores is a matter for building regulations, and in existing buildings, if appropriate, could be covered by a fire certificate. However, any provisions to require a general installation of sprinkler systems in existing large premises would require primary legislation.
Fire safety issues are under review by a scrutiny team and, as my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment said on 29 March, Official Report, columns 660-61, any changes would be made in the light of its findings and after consultation with interested parties.
The need for such provisions will be carefully considered by the Government in the light of the scrutiny team's findings and those of our recent review of the Fire Precautions Act 1971.