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Safety campaign launched to prevent another Grenfell disaster

A safety campaign has been launched in East Durham in a bid to prevent another Grenfell Tower disaster.

As the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire approaches, a group of industry experts have got together to press for changes in the law.

Grahame Morris MP takes a tour of the Seaward site.

Grahame Morris MP takes a tour of the Seaward site.

Led by Peterlee-based electrical testing equipment expert, Seaward, and backed by MP Grahame Morris, the national campaign urges policy makers to create legislation on appliance testing in rental properties to help avoid similar tragedies.

Following the devastating fire in June 2017, Seaward called on the Government to introduce new regulations to help save lives.

Now, Mr Morris has sponsored an Early Day Motion calling for the topic to be debated in Parliament and support for the national campaign is growing.

Seaward, a manufacturer of electrical testing equipment for the domestic, medical and renewable energy markets, is urging policy makers to change the law to require landlords in England to carry out regular electrical testing on the appliances in their rental properties, in the same way as it is mandatory in Scotland and Wales.

The fact of the matter is that if done correctly, PAT testing will help to save lives

Andrew Upton

The company is also encouraging insurers to take portable appliance testing (PAT) into account when evaluating tenanted premises.

Quick and simple measures such as PAT testing can highlight problems the tenant or landlord may not be aware of, such as simple wear and tear, recalled items or counterfeit appliances that don’t meet UK safety standards.

Government statistics for 2016-17 show that faulty electrical appliances were the second largest cause of accidental house fires in the UK.

Mr Morris, MP for Easington, said: “I fully support Seaward’s important fire safety campaign. Electrical faults are one of the leading causes of domestic fires, and are cited as a possible cause of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Seaward's managing director, Andrew Upton.

Seaward's managing director, Andrew Upton.

“Regular PAT testing can ensure that electrical faults are identified, helping to prevent potentially lethal fires. It’s a quick, easy and affordable process that can save lives and protect property.”

Andrew Upton, managing director of Seaward, said: “As industry experts and advocates for electrical safety we believe there should be a safety first policy – and we are sure many people will agree with us. The fact of the matter is that if done correctly, PAT testing will help to save lives.

“It’s important that we use this opportunity to think carefully about safety standards and make sure landlords and local authorities carry out very basic tests and we are very grateful to our MP Grahame Morris for helping us highlight this important issue.”

The campaign is also backed by PAT testing company Hawkesworth Appliance Testing which said it is has seen a rise in the number of counterfeit items which have made their way into rented homes putting lives at risk.

Grahame Morris MP and Seaward managing director Andrew Upton, with a testing appliance.

Grahame Morris MP and Seaward managing director Andrew Upton, with a testing appliance.

Fire engulfs Grenfell Tower.

Fire engulfs Grenfell Tower.