Fire risk on Tube 'does not justify cost of changes'

SOME recommendations of the report into the King's Cross Tube disaster should not be implemented because their cost cannot be justified, a report to the Health and Safety Executive says.

The risk of a disastrous fire on the London Underground has been dramatically reduced by measures implemented as a result of the King's Cross disaster. Brian Appleton, the author of the HSE report, suggests that fire risk now 'needs to take its rightful place as one risk among others on which money needs to be spent'.

There are now only 1,000 fires on the system each year, compared with 5,000 before the disaster, and only 40 per cent cause any disruption to service, he says.

Mr Appleton, who was an assessor in the public inquiry into the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster, says plans to install fire-resistant walls in stations, which would cost pounds 23m for preliminary surveys and design alone, are unnecessary. Most fires are in tunnels and trains, and escalator mechanisms all now have sprinkler systems.

A large escalator fire is now likely to happen only once every 500 years compared with once every 10 years before the improvements. The risk of dying from a collision in the Tube system is 15 times greater than dying from a station fire, and therefore resources would be better spent on improving signalling.

Mr Appleton says new fire regulations are now needed to replace those implemented following the disaster.

Mr Appleton's report was commissioned as a result of an incident on the Central Line in February 1991 when seven trains near Bethnal Green, east London, loaded with 6,000 passengers, were trapped for five hours in tunnels between platforms after a bomb alert.

Mr Appleton says that since this incident, procedures on closure of stations following alerts have been greatly improved. When all London British Rail main line stations had to be closed after bombs were found at Victoria and Paddington stations in February 1991, it took seven hours for the network to be brought back into operation. After a shutdown in December 1991, when a device exploded near Clapham Junction, south London, it took two and a quarter hours.

The number of alerts caused by suspect packages and anonymous calls rocketed in 1991 but London Underground has become much more skilled at assessing risk and dealing with them. During alerts less trains are being stuck in tunnels as they are allowed to run through stations without stopping.

Mr Appleton said managers who decided whether to evacuate stations 'always err on the side of safety and I support that'.

----------------------------------------------------------------- Combined LUL and BR security incidents 1984-91 ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 Devices found 8 22 9 22 4 1 5 8 Anonymous calls 327 393 358 217 282 389 446 1683 Suspect packages 62 147 388 83 133 202 270 1961 -----------------------------------------------------------------

Leading article, page 18

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week