South West MEP calls for EU-wide fire safety law for hotels - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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South West MEP calls for EU-wide fire safety law for hotels

Wednesday, 11 May 2011
The charred remains of the Penhallow Hotel, Newquay, following the devastating fire in August 2007 (Photo: Daily Mail)In August 2007, fire swept through the corridors of the Penhallow Hotel in the popular Cornish holiday resort of Newquay and flames were reported to reach 30ft into the sky. More than 100 firefighters fought to contain the blaze but were ultimately unsuccessful in what was quickly described as the worst in the UK for nearly 40 years. Three holidaymakers lost their lives.

O&C Holdsworth Ltd, the Yorkshire-based company that owned the hotel, admitted two charges of failing to meet national fire safety standards when the case was bought before Truro Crown Court in March and they were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £62,000 costs.

But now in light of this ruling, South West MEP Graham Watson is backing calls to establish a new Europe-wide law on fire safety following the Penhallow disaster.

There is no legislation at all at a European level at the moment even though millions of people travel every year around the European Union. What we have is a Council recommendation which means that the 27 countries have agreed to say to each other you ought to meet certain standards that was adopted 25 years ago and nothing since,” he said.

The Commission and the Parliament have both attempted on previous occasions tried to introduce such legislation, but now Mr Watson is hoping that given the tourism’s importance in the European economy and the Parliament’s new competences granted to it under the Lisbon Treaty will make a revisit to the subject more profitable.

Mr Watson says fire safety experts are telling him the law needs to be stronger, and he believes Europe-wide standards would ensure that citizens could feel reassured when staying in hotels both in the UK and on the continent.

It is often the case that you need to legislate in order to oblige hoteliers to make their hotels of an adequate standard. We have done this in the past in the UK where hotels now have to have fire doors and they have to have sprinkler systems, so let’s make sure that this is the case right across the European Union.


Video courtesy of EUReporter.co

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