AM calls for David Jones to consider his position on sprinklers

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones has furiously hit back at comments made by the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones at the Conservative Party Conference.

Speaking to delegates, David Jones said: “Regulations on builders are considerably more onerous than in England – including the bizarre proposal to fit every new house with a sprinkler system”. The Secretary of State was referring to the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011, a backbench piece of legislation steered through by Mrs Jones, which received unanimous support of the Assembly.

Mrs Jones said: “David Jones is obsessed with denigrating fire sprinklers. He has repeatedly spread disinformation about the law and the effect it will have on the house building industry.
“He has said that sprinklers will cost £11k where as his colleague; the Fire Minister, Brandon Lewis has given official figures of £2-3k. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary is even on record as saying they can be fitted for £600”.

During scrutiny of the Bill, the Assembly’s Finance Committee stated “there is no evidence that they [costs] will be seen as a significant burden on house buyers or have a significant impact on the housing market”. Furthermore, the Legislation Committee No. 1 stated in its report “we believe it is unlikely that the proposed Measure will adversely affect development viability in Wales”.

Mrs Jones added: “I am shocked and appalled that David Jones thinks that saving lives is bizarre. The installation of sprinklers is designed to do one thing: save lives. Too many lives are lost and homes devastated as a result of house fires.