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HOTREC Hotel Fire Safety Charter goes up in Smoke

Date

25 Feb 2010

Sections

Health & Consumers

ANEC repeats their call to the European Commission for a legislative proposal

ANEC is dismayed – but not surprised – at the apparent failure of the HOTREC initiative intended to introduce a voluntary charter for hotel fire safety in Europe.  If confirmed, the failure will prove that a common minimum level of fire safety cannot be achieved by self-regulation. 

The long-standing problem of how to ensure a minimum level of fire safety in hotels across Europe is still far from being solved.  The HOTREC initiative for a voluntary charter has been dismissed by the industry itself and the recently launched methodology² has been watered down to an informative document.

At the last meeting of the HOTREC General Assembly, HOTREC members did not agree to individual hotels being asked to commit to the charter, instead of national associations, despite the requirements of the charter not being particularly demanding, going no further than regulatory practice in some Member States.

Instead, the methodology will be published as guidance which HOTREC does not intend to impose on hoteliers nor wishes to see invoked against an individual hotel or national trade association.  It is accepted that some national associations appear willing to work with the guidance document and to encourage its use in hotels. 

Arlene McCarthy MEP and member of HOTREC’s Stakeholder Consultative Committee says: “HOTREC’s guidance is welcome but it doesn’t go far enough. People have been killed as a result of poor standards and action is needed now.  European fire officers have seen terrifying examples of negligence; sprinklers without a water supply, covered smoke alarms and blocked fire exits. If the industry can’t regulate themselves then new EU laws will have to be brought forward”.

ANEC believes the only way to achieve a common, minimum level of fire safety across Europe is for the European Commission to propose legislation as, even if the initiative had been a success, not all hotels are members of associations affiliated to HOTREC.  ANEC considers that the discussions within HOTREC – and the expertise brought together there – need not be lost and could contribute to the preparation of a legislative proposal that would apply to all hotels. 

In order to ensure that such a measure remains state-of-the-art, ANEC believes that legislation should rely on European technical standards, noting that CEN  and CENELEC  have already published many standards on fire safety, all of which are implemented in 27 EU countries and 3 EFTA countries as national standards.  It should be noted that the HOTREC methodology make no reference to any of these recognised formal standards.

Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary-General commented: “Almost 20 years after the creation of the internal market, it is absurd that a consumer cannot use a hotel in Europe comfortable in the knowledge that it meets a minimum set of requirements for fire safety.  

We must commend HOTREC for its attempt but its members have been found wanting.  Now is the time for legislation.”

ENDS

____________

1HOTREC – The trade association for hotels, restaurants and cafes in the EU

²HOTREC Press Notice – HOTREC MBS methodology: a modern tool for fire safety in hotels in Europe! D-0210-      050-AW

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