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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 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.

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 warns that letter plate is an aperture, which can be used by the criminal, 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 kind 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.

Police service reports that 95% of arsons in domestic premises are 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 only from the scam, which involves stealing post from unsecured letterboxes and using personal information from letters for buying high-end goods, withdrawing 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. 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.

Because the letter plates are universal in the UK, the country is faced with the highest in the world prevalence of crime and vandalism through the entrance doors, loss of house heat and CO2 emissions.

In addition, such doors can be in breach of the mandatory legislation, such as The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO), 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, the fire started in the exit door area (as it happens in 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 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 mean replacing the whole door, nuisance with getting to mail and letting the warm air out. Plus there is a certain heritage issue here.

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

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