About Safety at Sports Grounds licences

The Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Fire Safety and Safety of Sports Act 1987 aim to secure the safety of people attending sports grounds.
Lord Justice Taylor's report of 1989 into the Hillsborough stadium disaster made a number of recommendations to further those aims.  Local authorities were advised to set up safety advisory groups to co-ordinate the roles of the council, the emergency services, the sports grounds manager and other interested authorities involved with the management of spectator safety at sporting events.

Building Control takes a major role within Bolton's safety advisory groups dealing with the Macron Stadium – Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

Bolton Council’s Building Control service is responsible for the administration of the safety at sports ground legislation within the borough. This role includes the issuing and enforcement of a general safety certificate for any designated grounds or regulated stands. The general safety certificate requires the holder of the certificate to be responsible for the safety of spectators who visit and use the ground facilities. The policy document sets the agreed policy and procedure for managing safety at designated sports grounds and specifically relates to the Macron Stadium which is currently the only designated sports ground within the borough. This document identifies the roles and responsibilities of the Council in undertaking its statutory duties and has been consulted on with both the emergency services and the sports ground safety authority.

In addition, Building Control has established a safety advisory group (or safety team) to support and advise the holder of the general safety certificate how to meet their duties and responsibilities under the safety at sports grounds legislation.

To receive further information about safety at sports grounds or to make an application with regard to the provision of a general safety certificate for a designated ground or regulated stand please contact Building Control using the details in the contact tab.

Requirements for an application

An application for a general safety certificate for a designated ground or regulated stand must include details and address of the stadium, together with details of the individual or organisation who will manage the stadium. In particular details are required of the person who is proposed to be the holder of the requested general safety certificate together with their competency for acting as the holder.

The issuing of a general safety certificate for a designated ground or regulated stand requires consideration of a broad number of issues to ensure the health, safety, welfare and comfort of the spectators. These include, for example, the management of the stand or stadium, the level of stewarding available, means of escape in case of fire, together with the location of steps, standing areas, barriers and guarding, also the provision of toilets. Other important aspects of a general safety certificate are the need for scrutiny of safety systems and certification of elements, services and equipment.

Information on all the aspects that need to be considered under an application for a general safety certificate are discussed within the current fifth edition of the guide to safety at sports grounds.

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