View Full Version : Water changes review call

28-May-11, 08:43
Rules on water affecting housing development

THE chairman of Highland Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee is calling for the Scottish Government to urgently review the recent changes to building legislation regarding water supply for fire fighting which are having a serious detrimental effect on housing development in the Highlands.
A new mandatory building standard requires every new house to have a water supply for fire fighting and this will add to the construction costs. Previously domestic buildings were exempt from complying with this standard.
Councillor Ian Ross said: “There has been no consultation with local authorities over this change and while no one wants to be complacent about the risk of fire, we also need to ensure that people looking to build their homes in rural locations are not burdened with onerous costs. Due to the geography of our area this issue is important as it impacts on so many people at a time when we are actively promoting development in the countryside through our Development Plan.
“At our Committee meeting earlier this week Members expressed very strong feelings that the enforcement of this standard effectively opposes our Development Plan and is causing anxiety to our customers. We are calling for an urgent review. I have written to the Minister for Local Government and asking for investigations to be undertaken to justify this new requirement being implemented in what is the largest Local Authority in geographical terms in Scotland. I have also asked for the Government to issue a Ministerial Direction until such time as the consultation with the Fire Authorities is complete and a practical solution published reinstating the previous mandatory standard that will allow for the exclusion of dwelling houses.”
Councillor Ross has also written to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth and to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment expressing the councils concerns. The issue has already been raised with COSLA and other rural Local Authorities and discussions are taking place with the Highland Fire and Rescue Service.