FireSafetySENSE Scotland   The Fire Safety SENSE Campaign Scotland
The Campaign for Sensible Fire Regulation for Homes and Small Premises in Scotland

In Scotland, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 applies and although the legislation is different to its England & Wales counterpart, broadly the same issues apply and very similar problems have emerged of disproportional enforcement.

(The "RRFSO" described elsewhere on this website is the Westminster (UK) legislation, and applies only to England and Wales.)

New "relaxed" Scottish Government guidance put out for consultation
reducing the burden on B&Bs by over £14,000 each -
a total cut of £100 million in the cost of red tape
whilst maintaining fire safety levels

24 November 2009

New fire safety guidance is set to reduce the financial and administrative burden on Scotland's estimated 7,000 bed and breakfast and self catering businesses by an average of £14,286 each - a total reduction in the cost burden on small accommodation businesses in Scotland of £100 million, on the Scottish Government's own figures.

The Fire Safety SENSE Campaign had highlighted concerns that previous fire safety requirements were complex and prohibitively expensive. The new guidance was developed by the Scottish Government to "directly address these concerns" and will "maintain fire safety levels while reducing the average investment in safety equipment by over 90 per cent".

The new guidance will also ensure that all fire safety requirements are now applied "consistently as well as proportionately to the size of property".

Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing urged the tourism sector to support the proposals:

"The Scottish Government has listened at length to business owners' concerns and proposed a solution that reduces red tape and reduces cost while ensuring their paying guests are safe from the ever-present risk of fire."

An independent analysis compares the average cost of compliance under the new guidance at £1,090 per B&B, compared with £15,376 under the previous guidance - a saving of over £14,000 in the compliance burden per B&B, according to the figures published by the Scottish Government.

The public consultation ends February 4, 2010.

For more detail, see the Scottish Government website.

Scottish Fire Authorities told to hold off enforcement action on small B&Bs
- new guidance will be issued

4 January 2008

In Scotland, enforcement action against small B&Bs has been put on hold by the Scottish Government, which admitted that enforcement action has resulted in "expensive and unnecessary fire safety measures being put in place which are not proportionate to the risks".

Following many representations made (including by Alan Keith, Co-ordinator of the Fire Safety SENSE Campaign Scotland) to Fergus Ewing MSP, the Scottish Community Safety Minister and other MSPs, the Head of the Scottish Government's Fire and Rescue Advisory Unit, Brian Fraser, has issued a letter dated 19th December 2008 to the Chief Fire Officers of all Fire & Rescue Authorities in Scotland.

The letter notes that "concerns have been raised with Ministers about the enforcement of fire safety for small bed and breakfast accommodation providers. The concerns raised suggest that the guidance on which compliance and enforcement is based may be resulting in expensive and unnecessary fire safety measures being put in place which are not proportionate to the risks."

The letter informs Chief Fire Officers that "At the recent Ministerial Advisory Group meeting, chaired by Mr Ewing and including representatives of fire board conveners and Chief Officers, it was agreed that guidance for this sector would be withdrawn. It was further agreed that a working group, including tourism industry representatives, will be convened to produce new guidance, which will be subject to full consultation."

Scottish Fire & Rescue Authorities are told that "To avoid conflict with the revised guidance, which shall be issued as soon as practicable, enforcement officers should no longer rely on the benchmarks in the small guide as being appropriate for small bed and breakfast type establishments. It is therefore recommended that fire and rescue services reschedule their routine audit and enforcement activity in this sector until such time as the revised guidance is available. However, cases where serious risk is discovered should still be acted upon."

Scottish Parliament member Alex Fergusson told B&B owners in his constituency (Galloway and Nithsdale) “I am delighted commonsense has prevailed on this occasion and do give Ministers credit for admitting they had got it wrong”.

The letter can be read in full by clicking here.
(pdf document, 1p, 73kb)

In Scotland the Minister concerned is Fergus Ewing MSP, the Minister for Community Safety.

You can contact him at:

            Fergus Ewing MSP
            The Scottish Parliament
            EH99 1SP


Telephone: 0131 348 5731
Fax: 0131 348 5716

Links to further information about the fire regulations in Scotland:

Infoscotland - Fire Law
This link opens the Info Scotland website at the page about the Scottish Fire Regulations.

The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005
This link opens the full online wording of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 on the HMSO website.

Explanatory Notes (pdf file)
This link opens the Scottish Parliament's Explanatory Notes to the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (a pdf file).

Policy Memorandum (pdf file)
This link opens the Scottish Parliament's Policy Memorandum on the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (a pdf file).

If you have any queries or comments about the Fire Regulations in Scotland, you can email our Scottish Campaign Co-Ordinatior, Alan Keith, at