Q: I have heard it mentioned on the radio that there have been changes to fire legislation. Please could you tell me what the changes are and how they might affect the horse industry, including my own riding school and livery yard?

A: Fire legislation for England and Wales changed on 1 October, with Scotland following later, when a new law, called The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force.

To find out how this legislation will affect the horse industry, we spoke to Harry Paviour, fire advisor to The British Horse Society. He explained that the philosophy behind the changes is to pass responsibility for adequate standards of fire safety from enforcing authorities to the occupier/owner of premises. They will be required to adopt a risk assessment based approach to fire safety.

He said: “Owners and proprietors of equine establishments including riding schools, livery yards and agricultural and equine colleges will have to identify and demonstrate to the enforcing authorities how they will manage the risk of a fire at their stables, including identifying all the appropriate fire safety measures associated with their business. Owners and proprietors should also assess the potential for their stables to be targeted in an arson attack.

“All stables will be required to carry out a fire risk assessment of all the buildings, including the outside areas within the confines of the stable’s yard and all residential accommodation located on the site. They must also show the enforcing authority they have put into place a review and monitoring procedure for their fire risk assessment — the risk assessment must be on-going.”

It will affect more riding establishments than the current law, which only applies to “workplaces”.

“The legislation will involve every activity within the equine industry, regardless of whether the stable is operated for business or pleasure. Although private stables may not be covered, owners of these will still have a ‘duty of care’ to visitors, such as the farriers and vets. Show organisers will also need to comply with the new legislation.”