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New planning requirements on fire safety come into force

Planning gateway one, a new planning requirement that came into force this week, will ensure that high-rise developments consider fire safety at the earliest stages of planning.

Developments involving high-rise residential buildings must demonstrate they have been designed with fire safety in mind before planning permission is granted, including through their site layout and the provision of access for fire engines.

This information will need to be submitted as part of a planning application in a fire statement.

beige high rise building

Housing minister, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, said: ‘This is a key step in our progress towards a new, risk-based building safety regime that will ensure fire safety is prioritised at every stage in the development of high-rise buildings.

‘I am pleased to appoint the Health and Safety Executive as the statutory consultee, which will be on-hand to provide their expertise to local planning authorities on these important fire safety elements.

‘We are driving up the standards of safety for people’s homes and our new regulator – to be introduced under the Building Safety Bill – will provide this essential oversight, from a building’s initial design, to providing homes in the future.’

Local planning authorities will need to seek advice on relevant applications from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before a decision can be made on the planning application.

Chief inspector of buildings at the Health and Safety Executive, Peter Baker, said: ‘The introduction of planning gateway one is an important milestone in the journey to radically reform building safety so that residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes. It will ensure that fire safety is considered from the very beginning of a building’s life and that developments benefit from integrated thinking on fire safety.

‘The Health and Safety Executive is now a statutory consultee for planning applications involving relevant high-rise residential buildings and will apply risk-based fire safety knowledge and expertise to evaluate planning applications. This will enable local planning authorities to make sound and informed decisions.’

In related news, the Welsh Building Safety Fund will be used to conduct fire safety surveys of high-rise buildings to ensure safety for residents, according to a Welsh government announcement.

Photo by Lethu Zimu

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