Posted on by Robert Jervis-Gibbons
Electrical Safety First has had strong support from Welsh politicians, working with us on a number of electrical safety issues, with a particular emphasis on housing, product safety, the future use of electricity in Wales and supporting our annual Electrical Safety Week.
With elections taking place in Wales on Thursday 6th May, we are asking candidates standing for the Senedd to support our five key policy asks to ensure the safety of Welsh people in their homes.
1. Introduce policies that help reduce the number of fires caused by electricity in Welsh homes.
Wales has a higher percentage of electrical fires than other parts of the UK. In Wales, 62% of all accidental domestic fires are electrical, compared to 53% in England. Between 2014-2019, there were 4,000 fires with an electrical source of ignition and 1,500 of these were caused by white goods, such as tumble dryers, dishwashers and washing machines.
We want to see the new Welsh Government do more to raise awareness of the risks associated with electricity and also improve the reporting of domestic incidents caused by the misuse of electricity.
2. Ensure Wales is ‘future-proof’ for the anticipated increase in the use of electricity as we move towards the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
With emphasis on the decarbonization of heat and an increase in electric vehicle use, a review of Welsh housing stock is needed to assess whether it can deal with this increased use of electricity. Some areas, such as the South Wales valleys, will need particular attention due to its density of older housing.
More public charging points for electric vehicles are needed, particularly in residential and rural areas.
3. Improve electrical safety standards across all housing tenures so that there is equality between privately or socially rented properties, High Rise Residential Buildings and the owner-occupied sector.
The Welsh Government has committed to the introduction of five-yearly electrical checks in privately and socially rented properties. These delayed regulations must be implemented and enforced at the earliest opportunity. We are also calling for these checks to be extended to homes in High Rise Residential Buildings, regardless of tenure.
4. Protect vulnerable people in their homes and communities.
The number of people in Wales aged over 80 is expected to double by 2035. There is an estimated 50,000 people aged over 65 who are living with dementia, which presents its own challenges when it comes to electrical safety.
Home Safety Visits undertaken by the Fire Services in Wales are a vital tool to help prevent electrical fires. We believe that the way electrical safety issues are prioritized and resolved should be reviewed and that every household with a person aged over 80 should receive a free electrical safety check.
5. Improve consumer safety online
In Wales, whilst the laws relating to relegating unsafe electrical goods are not devolved, it is important to note that there are many issues with Welsh consumers buying unsafe electrical goods online. According to our research, just over a quarter of Welsh residents (26%) admitted that they would knowingly buy an electrical fake if they saw it for a fraction of the price and one in 11 Welsh adults have first-hand experience of a shock or fire caused by an electrical product that was bought online.
We hope that the new Welsh Government will support a Bill in the UK Parliament that will prevent the sale of unsafe, substandard and counterfeit electrical goods.
Read more about our policies in Wales.
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