Thousands of historic UK buildings vulnerable to fire

Firefighters battling the blaze at Clandon Park an 18th century National Trust property

Owners block attempts to install ‘unsightly’ sprinklers

Heritage buildings across England are at risk of burning down because their owners are blocking attempts to install “unsightly” fire prevention methods, experts have warned.

A “misplaced” fear among conservationists and architects that such measures will ruin the character of the building has left hundreds of thousands of historic buildings across the country vulnerable.

Steve Emery, chair the Institute of Fire Engineers and fire adviser for Historic England, said that building owners will “very often” use the building’s listed status as a reason for not installing proper fire protection measures. He said people are reluctant to install sprinklers because they are concerned it will increase the likelihood of the building flooding if it goes wrong.

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