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August 3, 2020

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Fire safety & emergency

Welsh Government invites responses to role of Fire & Rescue Authorities in planning applications

The Welsh Government is inviting views on proposals to make Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) statutory consultees on planning applications relating to specified developments.

surveyThis will mean that for certain types of development:

  • Developers will be required to consult the fire and rescue authorities prior to submitting their application
  • Local planning authorities and the Welsh Ministers will be required to consult them to inform their consideration and determination of the application.
  • The FRA will need to respond where the LPA chooses to consult further on applications for approval, consent or agreement relating to a planning application on which they were initially consulted.

Purpose

The Grenfell Tower tragedy of June 2017 has widespread and profound implications for the safety of residential buildings and how Fire and Rescue Services respond to fires in them. Following the fire, the Welsh Government convened a Building Safety Expert Group, which included developers, architects, landlords, building inspectors and Fire Service representatives. In its report of April 2019, the Group set out a number of recommendations on how Welsh policies and practices should change in light of the Grenfell fire.

Among its recommendations was that the Fire and Rescue Services should be more closely involved in the planning, design and construction of high-rise residential buildings. Involving the Fire and Rescue Services at an early stage would allow them to comment on changes in local fire risk and any aspects of proposed developments which gave rise to fire safety concerns. The recommendations included legislating for changes to both the planning and building control process, to make the Fire and Rescue Services statutory consultees in the planning approval process and enhancing their role in the building control approval process for high-rise residential buildings. The Minister for Housing and Local Government accepted these recommendations in May 2019, subject to further consultation.

At present, Fire and Rescue Authorities (“FRAs”) must be consulted on applications for Building Regulations approval. However, they are not required to be specifically consulted on applications for planning permission.

This consultation proposes to change that, to make FRAs statutory consultees on planning applications relating to specified developments. In this document where “Fire and Rescue Services” are referred to, the service provided by the FRA is meant.

Comments should be submitted by 23 October 2020 and can be done so, here.

This article was originally published on IFSEC Global.

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