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Anti-arson | Anti-virus | Anti-bacterial | Fireproof | Anti-burglary | Anti-mail theft | Anti-vandal | Flood-proof | Anti-terrorist | Saves house energy | Cuts CO2 emissions


Arson: a call to action: A 'State of the Nation' Report, Arson Prevention Forum, September 2014: 'With a quarter of all fire deaths now the result of deliberate fires, there is an increasing need to address this. Looking at the fatality data, over 80% of all deliberate fire deaths are in the home, suggesting that interventions to reduce deliberate deaths could be focused here.

There is relative successes - in reducing criminal damage, but not arson; and the huge reductions in accidental dwelling fire deaths, but not deliberate - suggest that this is either a very difficult subject to tackle and/or an issue that does not get the proportionate level of consideration or action.'

In 2014/15, 50 people died in fires that were started deliberately.

The Letter Plate Problems

When desperate to sell, door manufacturers are marketing their door products with an unprotected or under-protected letter plate as 'Secured By Design' or 'Eco' they not only misleading the customers but may be breaking the laws too


The entrance/exit doors in the UK are mostly fitted with the traditional letter plate for mail deliveries. This can create a problem since the letter plate is a publicly accessible opening element and it will undermine the vital specifications of the door, including security, fire resistance and environmental.

The police, fire brigade, insurance, locksmiths and hardware industry have known for years that no matter how many and how secure locks you have on your door, the weak point is the letter plate (letterbox). This weakness opens the door (no pun intended) for multiple risks.

Even with the well-built and resilient external doors, secure locks, alarm and CCTV, the letter plate exposes the premises, its occupants and visitors to all four main risks defined by the Insurance industry: fire, water damage, malicious damage and weather-related damage. 

With the coronavirus pandemic, the mail items that are allowed to fall on the floor inside the property can play a role in spreading the coronavirus, as we can expect some mail items surfaces contaminated and postal workers infected. Furthermore, the letter plate allows abuse and deliberate spread of the virus using noxious substances.

Police warn that letter plate is an aperture, which can be used by the criminals either to extract goods from within in close proximity to the door, commonly door and car keys, or to work vulnerable locking devices from the inside.

RISCAuthority regards unprotected letter slots in front doors of all kinds of properties as a significant fire hazard. A serious threat to all premises, be they residential, commercial, or industrial is arson. It is a problem that has grown since the 1950s to the extent that over 40% of all fires in industry and commerce and over 20% in residential properties are now lit deliberately.

According to the police, 95% of arson in domestic premises is committed through the letter plate

In some accidents of letterbox arson, several generations of one family were wiped out, and this is a tragedy waiting to happen. According to the latest UK Fire Statistics, over 80% of all deliberate fire deaths are in the home. A disproportionate share of accidents with a devastating effect on the property and the occupants resulted from fires started with liquid accelerants. 

According to Financial Fraud Action UK, fraudsters have stolen £5 million in 2014 alone from the scam, which involves stealing post from unsecured letterboxes and using personal information from letters to buy high-end goods, withdraw cash, or making fraudulent financial transactions.

Crime is a green issue. Even a small blaze from letterbox arson can produce substantial carbon emissions and toxic products, which may lead to cancer. Larger fires may have dramatic and persistent adverse effects on the environment and pollution levels. Attending to the crime scene by emergency services and rebuilding implies further depletion of valuable resources and additional release of greenhouse gases.

Mail items that are delivered via the letter plate and fall on the floor carry the risks of spreading viruses and bacteria from contaminated mail surfaces.

Letter plate draught-proofing, such as brush strips, only works with the closed flap. However, it is a familiar picture when a newspaper or mail items remain in the letter plate and keep the flap open, often for hours. This drives the heating system to work longer to compensate for the heat loss. Millions of UK properties waste money on energy bills because of the notorious letterbox draughts and heat loss through the open letter plate.

The UK has the highest rate of criminality and vandalism through front doors, as well as heat loss from homes and CO2 emissions, because letter plates are permitted everywhere.

Furthermore, such doors may violate mandatory legislation such as The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO), The Fire Safety Act 2021, Building Regulations Parts B, E, L and Q, Construction Products Regulation (CPR), The Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, Housing Act 2004 and more. For example, a fire started in the exit door area (as it happens in the case of letterbox arson) would effectively cut off the main escape route from the premises. For that reason, in the premises covered by the mandatory RRO, The Fire Safety Act 2021, and Building Regulations, doors used as the final point of exit should be arson proof or fireproof, which is not the case with the unprotected letter plate. 

And yet, removing the letter plate would be inappropriate in most cases, as it may necessitate replacing the entire door, which would create letting the warm air out and a nuisance when getting to mail. Plus, there is a certain heritage issue here.

For those reasons, the entrance doors with unprotected or under-protected letter plates need upgrading for eliminating their negative effects. If this conflict is not properly addressed, the consequences can be disastrous. Also, beware:

There are 'fire rated' letter plates and 'anti-arson' and 'fireproof' letter box products on the market that give a false sense of security