HC Deb 02 November 1994 vol 248 cc1157-8W
Mr. Donald Anderson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from public and private representative bodies to amend the building regulations to reduce the danger of accidents from the collapse of freestanding masonry walls; and what proposals he has in response to amend or to institute some form of regulatory control.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

Apart from a request from the hon. Member's own local authority at Swansea and from HM coroner for north Buckinghamshire, following an

1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
Avon 1 1
Cambridgeshire 1
Cheshire 1
Cornwall 5 5 1
Derbyshire 1 1
Devon 3 3 1 1 1
Dorset 1 1
Essex 3 2 1
Gloucestershire 1 1 1
Hampshire 1 1 3

inquest into a tragic accident involving a young boy, the Government have received few representations calling for freestanding masonry walls to be brought under building regulation control.

Following its review earlier this year, the Government accepted the Building Regulations Advisory Committee recommendation that such walls should not be brought under statutory control. It was the committee's view that despite the tragic fatality cases reported, the health and safety risks associated with such walls are far less than for other hazards, such as those present in the home. The burden of control on enforcement authorities, industry and the public could not therefore be reconciled against such low risk of injury.

The Government are, however, committed to improving the safety of freestanding walls through their continued sponsorship of the development and dissemination of technical guidance on wall construction and maintenance. NHBC registered builders already have an obligation to observe such guidance.

In addition, the Government are encouraging local authorities to be vigilant in exercising their powers under sections 77 and 78 of the Building Act 1984 to remedy any dangerous walls.

Forward to