My letter to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Eland House

Bressenden Place



Friday 31st May 2013

Dear Eric,

Thank you for letter, dated 23rd May 2013.

I am grateful to you for clarifying where your quote regarding the cost of fire sprinklers came from. As you may be aware, Mr Morgan’s figure of £13,000 has been widely discredited. The National Housebuilders Federation, when challenged, had to agree that the figures could not be proven. Even the later estimate of £5,000 per home, remains disputed when you look at the experiences of the Callow Mount project in Sheffield which retrofitted sprinklers at a cost of £1,100 per dwelling. Sir Ken Knight, a former Fire Advisor to your government, applauded the work at Callow Mount. I am sure you will agree with me that this large deviation from his initial position calls into question his integrity and ability to produce a fair and accurate evaluation.

You will obviously realise that all of the points you raise were fully considered by the scrutiny process of the proposed Measure, and the concerns of Mr Morgan were considered and taken into account by both MPs and AMs at all stages of the process.

I note that your letter carries no indication from the Chief Fire Officer’s Association, the National Fire Sprinkler Network or representatives from the Fire and Rescue Services.  I am certain have you had any discussions with representatives from the Fire Service, I am certain they will have told you that this is a vital community safety Measure which WILL save lives and protect men, women and children from having their homes devastated by fire. I can assure you from my experiences in the Fire Service, too many families have had their lives ruined by fire.

In your letter to me, I also notice that you ignored my request for a meeting to explain the facts around fire sprinklers to you. Therefore, to avoid further embarrassment to you and your government, I believe that we should meet to discuss the evidence around the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure.

I am sure you and I can then reach some consensus even if we have to disagree politically on the issue of community safety.

I agree that this is an important issue and likewise, my correspondence on this issue will be made public.

Yours sincerely,

Ann Jones AM