Stephen Mosley MP calls for action to stop deaths by collapsing walls

Chester’s MP Stephen Mosley will present a Ten Minute Rule Motion in the House of Commons on Tuesday 5th February that aims to bring retaining and load-bearing walls within the remit of building regulations.

The motion seeks to address the dangerous current situation that exists in the UK where anyone can build a wall and pile tonnes of rubble up against, without the need for it to be inspected for safety.

The issue was highlighted to the North West MP by Chester residents Lindsay and Peter Burgess whose three year old daughter, Meg, was tragically killed when a 72ft long wall collapsed on top of her in 2008.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Mosley said:

“This is such a tragic case and serves to highlight the importance of proper regulation of the domestic building trade.

“As regulations currently stand, anyone in the UK could go away tomorrow and build a six foot high wall and dump tonnes of rubble up against it. There would is no obligation to seek official guidance, no requirement to consult with an experienced structural engineer, and it isn’t necessary for building control to inspect the finished article for safety.

“As Meg’s case so tragically underlines, retaining walls can be fatal. We should be doing all we can to ensure they are constructed soundly, for the safety of everyone in the UK.”

Following a lengthy court case last autumn, the builder responsible for Meg’s death, George Collier, was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and was given a two year jail sentence.

Mr Mosley continued:

“Mr and Mrs Burgess have carried themselves with incredible dignity and strength over the past four and a half years, and now that they have achieved some justice for Meg, they are determined that no one else should have to go through the same experience.”

Comments

  1. Edward Ramsden says:

    As former Director of Environmental Health in the City of Swansea, I raised a similar campaign with the support of my Authority after the death of a toddler, Kayleigh Finselbach, in 1991. In her case her teenage uncle simply leaned over a 4 foot high garden wall to reach her, causing the recently constructed masonary to collapse. Free-standing walls are inherently unstable and numerous similar tragedies occur in Britain every year. We got the sympathetic ear of the then head of Building Control in DoE, but eventually he was unable to deliver the changes to the Building Regulations.
    Of course it is ot only new walls – there are thousands of existing walls just waiting to collapse, many literally at the first puff of wind. LA’s have the power to deal with dangerous structures, but no duty to identify them. A two pronged attack is needed – firstly, new build walls must be covered by Building Regulation requirements. The support documentation by the Building research Institute exists and all that is required is a one liner to include free standing walls in the BR’s.
    Secondly, dangerous free-standing walls should be defined as a “Statutory Nuisance” – old fashioned legislation, but making it a statutory duty for LA’s to inspect their area and take action by issue of statutory notices.
    If you read this Stephen Mosley, I urge you to pursue it, not only for the memory of your constituents daughter, but for all of those children who will be killed by these public death-traps that exist throughout the land if you don’t.
    Best of luck.

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