But charity says ‘inequality streets’ still exist
“We are delighted that our calls for mandatory RCDs in the private rented sector (PRS) – one of the ‘asks’ of our Inequality Street campaign - has been heard by the Scottish Government”, says Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First.
“Over the last couple of years, Scotland has led the UK in protecting private tenants. But the legislation doesn’t cover those in social housing, or those living in their own homes. We need a common electrical safety standard for all housing in Scotland. At the moment, we really do have ‘inequality streets’, where one resident might be much better protected from electrical risk than their neighbour. And, while owner-occupiers can choose the risk levels in their home, this can be an issue – as the Grenfell Tower tragedy has clearly shown - when they live in tenements and flats, where fire can easily spread and impact on other residents”.
The requirement for mandatory RCDs in the PRS was announced as part of the Scottish Government’s energy efficiency programme consultation – with draft regulations for the measure to be laid before the Scottish Parliament next year. It is likely that there will be a 5 year ‘introductory period’, to allow landlords time to install RCDs in their properties. (More information can be found at https://consult.gov.scot/better-homes-division/energy-efficiency-programme/).
As part of their Inequality Street campaign, Electrical Safety First is calling for five yearly electrical safety checks to be extended to all social housing and mandatory checks in owner-occupied properties. As a first step in this process, the charity is lobbying for this fundamental safety precaution to be applied to owner-occupied flats.
In the meantime, Electrical Safety First has developed a range of resources for landlords, tenants and homeowners, to check the safety of their property. This includes a mobile phone app, which provides a quick visual check of the electrics in the home, plus a link to find a registered electrician in your area. And, given recent concerns regarding fridge freezers and other white goods, the charity has also established a microsite to promote the safe use of white goods at:http://www.whitegoodsafety.com/.
For general information, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.