Holyrood To Investigate Safety Of High-Rise Blocks

26 June 2017, 07:23

Grenfell Tower

Holyrood is to carry out its own investigation into the safety of high-rise blocks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.

MSPs on the Local Government and Communities Committee are to expand an on-going inquiry into housing and building regulations in Scotland to include high-rise accommodation.

The move was announced as London's Camden Council evacuated residents in four tower blocks amid fire safety fears there.

And the UK Government revealed all of the 34 high-rises in England that have so far submitted cladding samples have failed combustibility tests.

The buildings are located in 17 local authorities across the country, including Manchester, Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Camden, Barnet, Brent, and Hounslow in London.

The Scottish Government has already confirmed that no council or housing association high-rise block north of the border has cladding of the type said to have been used in Grenfell Tower - where at least 79 people died after a blaze tore through the tower block

Urgent tests are ongoing in eight areas to check privately owned blocks, but most councils report these have also not used the aluminium composite material.

Bob Doris, the convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee, said: "There are thousands of families and individuals living in high-rise accommodation across Scotland and they are understandably looking for reassurances at this deeply worrying time.

"Whilst both the Scottish Government and our social housing providers have moved quickly to take action and to allay fears, it is important that our committee provides an additional layer of scrutiny both in terms of fire safety and building standards. That is precisely what we intend to do.''

He has written to Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, outlining the committee's plans to examine safety in tower blocks.

"All parts of the UK must learn from the disaster at Grenfell Tower and we must do all we can to ensure no-one has to experience the loss of a loved one in such tragic circumstances,'' Mr Doris said.

"Our committee will be reviewing building safety standards in full, particularly in highly dense urban areas with many high rises. We will speak to local authorities, landlords, tenants and of course the Scottish Government as part of this inquiry.''