FAULTY appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and fridge freezers are causing five house fires a week in Scotland , according to an investigation by Which?.

The new analysis, which comes in the wake of the tragic Grenfell fire which was said to have been started by a fridge freezer, raises "critical questions" about the safety of millions of household products, says the consumer organisation.

Which? says it believes Government action to keep potentially dangerous goods out of people’s homes "falls woefully short of what is needed".

The Herald:

It wants stronger national action to keep dangerous products out of homes and warned the situation will get worse when the UK leaves the EU.

Faulty kitchen appliances has reported caused close to 16,000 potentially deadly fires across the UK since April 1, 2012.

The number of house fires caused by faulty appliances and leads in Scotland has dipped only slightly from 573 in the two years of 2012/13 and 2013/14 to 551 in 2015/16 and 2016/17.

The analysis shows faulty washing machines and tumble dryers to be the most high-risk appliances, causing more than a third of fires (35 per cent) between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016. Other high risk appliances for the same period include cookers and ovens (11 per cent), dishwashers (10 per cent) and fridges, freezers and fridge freezers (eight per cent).

The data also reveals a number of brands that cause concern, including Whirlpool-owned brands Hotpoint and Indesit, Beko, Hoover and the smaller brand Haier.

The Herald: REDBRIDGE: Warning over kitchen fires

Which? has written to ministers giving them 90 days to publish an action plan for a new Office for Product Safety and Standards, launched last month.

A spokesman said: "This must set out both the true scale of the product safety risks that we face in the UK and the immediate steps that the Office will take to avert further devastating fires. The plan must also include the action that the Office will take to remove the remaining one million fire risk Whirlpool tumble dryers from people’s homes."

Whirlpool have hit back at the research saying the claims are based on "unreliable and inaccurate data". Beko also disputed the claims saying the "do not recognise much of data used in their research".

The research comes a month after the House of Commons Business Committee demanded "urgent action" from Whirlpool to resolve defects that has led to at least 750 fires since 2004.

The Herald:

The cross-party committee called on the Government to establish the product safety agency amid fears that cuts have undermined the effectiveness of local trading standards agencies.

The committee’s inquiry into risks from faulty electrical goods was triggered by last year’s Grenfell Tower tragedy, when 71 people died in a fire thought to have been started by a faulty Hotpoint fridge-freezer.

According to Which? Hotpoint dishwashers were linked to more than a third (34 per cent) of all fires caused by faulty dishwashers where the brand was identifiable between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016, but the consumer group say Euromonitor figures reveal Hotpoint's estimated share of the dishwasher market was less than 12 per cent in each of the last four years.

Indesit was linked to 10 per cent of identifiable dishwasher fires and has market share of around six per cent.

In addition, Hotpoint fridges, freezers and fridge freezers were linked to nearly one in five (17 per cent) of identifiable refrigeration fires, but Which? said at best the estimated market share accounts for 10 per cent of the UK refrigeration market during that period.

Faulty Beko fridges, freezers and fridge freezers were recorded as linked to a quarter of refrigeration fires where the brand had been identified. However, Euromonitor's estimates put Beko's market share at around half that.

Tumble dryers and washing machines featured high on the list of appliances causing concern.

According to the analysis, faulty Hoover tumble dryers were involved in about 12 per cent of fires where the brand was identified, and the figure is the same for Hoover washing machines.

Hoover told Which? its UK market share averaged eight per cent for washing machines and 10.2 per cent for tumble dryers in the two-year period the group analysed. Hoover stressed to Which? its commitment to appliance safety said that it fully complies with all safety laws.

Hotpoint dryers were also linked to almost a third (31 per cent) of all fires caused by faulty tumble dryers where the brand was identified. Which? estimates Hotpoint's share of this market at no more than 25%.

Which? today launches a new campaign to End Dangerous Products which calls for fundamental reform of the UK's "antiquated product safety regime to keep dangerous products out of our homes".

The campaign also demands that manufacturers and retailers immediately remove unsafe products from the market and consumers’ homes.

A Whirlpool spokesman said: “The government has advised that the accuracy of Fire and Rescue Service incident data cannot be guaranteed and should not be relied upon to make judgements about particular appliance makes or models.

“In addition, the market share estimates are misleading, not based on sales data, and do not accurately reflect the position of the market.”

A Beko spokesperson said: "We fully investigate every potential incident related to a Beko product that we are made aware of, with our own data showing a significantly reduced incident rate than is presented here.

“Since 2007, our entire refrigeration range has been fitted with flame retardant backs. We have not seen a single fire in a Beko cooling product manufactured following this, where the refrigerator has been proved to be the cause.

“We believe we are the only manufacturer to take these steps across our entire range and this move has been endorsed by Which?. We have sold over six million refrigerators in the UK since these changes have been made.”