Reader question: We don’t have visiting children and have a detached home with fencing all around. Do we risk a fine for leaving our swimming pool uncovered and without an alarm? Do the Google images used for undeclared works also pick this up?
To answer the last part first – no. Google images are used only for tax checks, not for safety requirements.
The rules are that a pool must have safety equipment to reduce the risk of accidents, particularly among young children. This equipment must include at least one of the following: a physical barrier, an alarm, a pool cover, or a shelter (conservatory type).
If you have an alarm, it makes sense to use it whenever the uncovered pool is not being used – most are easy to remove or switch off.
Your property fence could be considered a physical barrier, but the guidelines state it should be one metre from the pool, which is somewhat impractical.
A recent case of a toddler who drowned after falling into a neighbour’s uncovered pool shows how easily things can go wrong. The pool owner won a criminal case for not having safety equipment, but it took three more court hearings to eventually be cleared in a civil case where the parents claimed €180,000 in damages.