Only 4% of tower blocks are fit­ted with sprin­klers

Uxbridge Gazette - - News -

IT is 18 months since the Gren­fell Tower fire, which killed 72 peo­ple, and still only 4% of Lon­don’s high-rise coun­cil tower blocks have sprin­klers fit­ted, ac­cord­ing to re­search by the Labour Party.

In ad­di­tion to the “un­safe” cladding which has been blamed for in­creas­ing the speed of the fire, the lack of sprin­klers is also be­lieved to have wors­ened con­di­tions in­side the tower.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Labour Party has found that 18 months af­ter one of the most dev­as­tat­ing fires in the cap­i­tal n liv­ing mem­ory, 96% of coun­cil tower blocks still have no sprin­klers.

The po­lit­i­cal party high­lights the lack of ac­tion on sprin­klers in coun­cil tower blocks in light of Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s prom­ise af­ter the fire to “do what­ever it takes to…keep our peo­ple safe”.

How­ever, not a sin­gle re­quest from coun­cils for fund­ing to retro­fit sprin­klers into their tower blocks has been ac­cepted by the govern­ment, ac­cord­ing to the find­ings.

The re­search has been pub­lished 12 months af­ter Labour set out its postGren­fell fire safety and build­ing stan­dards pol­icy in a town hall less than a mile from the charred skele­ton of the tower.

At present, more than 800 tower blocks in Lon­don do not have sprin­klers, de­spite high pro­file sup­port from the Na­tional Fire Chiefs Coun­cil, Lon­don Fire Brigade Com­mis­sioner and Mersey­side Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice.

Labour also points to the £4 bil­lion in cuts to lo­cal govern­ment since 2010, and no fund­ing to fit new sprin­klers.

Sarah Jones MP, Labour’s shadow hous­ing min­is­ter, said: “Coun­cils and so­cial hous­ing ten­ants have been be­trayed by this govern­ment, who promised to do what­ever it took af­ter Gren­fell to make tower blocks safe, and has since back­tracked.

“It’s sim­ply con­tra­dic­tory for min­is­ters to say that sprin­klers aren’t es­sen­tial in older build­ings while re­quir­ing them for new build­ings. It cre­ates a two-tier sys­tem which dis­pro­por­tion­ately im­pacts so­cial hous­ing ten­ants.

“Why should cer­tain peo­ple be en­ti­tled to safer hous­ing than oth­ers?

“Sprin­klers are just one part of the fire safety mix, but they are proven to work. That’s why Labour is call­ing for a Govern­ment Fire Safety Fund to help coun­cils with sprin­klers and other im­por­tant fire safety work.”

The re­search was car­ried out by Labour through Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Re­quests from 29 of Lon­don’s 33 bor­oughs.

The re­search showed there are more than 800 coun­cil tower blocks, but just 32 have sprin­klers fit­ted.

Sep­a­rate re­search from In­side Hous­ing this month showed that one in 10 sprin­kler sys­tems fit­ted into so­cial hous­ing since 2010 has been suc­cess­ful in putting out a fire.

Gren­fell Tower

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