Wales action after Grenfell Tower disaster

Reporter:

Keri Trigg

CABINET Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant has announced he is setting up an expert group to examine all of the lessons coming out of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and their application to Wales.

The group will include representatives from the social housing and fire sectors and will be chaired by the Cabinet Secretary’s chief fire and rescue adviser.

The Cabinet Secretary made the announcement during an update to Assembly Members on the steps being taken in Wales following the Grenfell Tower fire.

He said a first round of urgent discussions with all residential social landlords in Wales had been completed.

“Between all residential social landlords in Wales, they own 36 blocks of flats of seven or more storeys,” said Mr Sargeant.

“Social landlords have told us none of those appear to have been fitted with the type of cladding used in the Grenfell Tower.”

Seven blocks have been retro-fitted with sprinklers, and all new or converted blocks are required to have sprinklers fitted.

Mr Sargeant added that the expert group will also consider how prepared Wales would be to deal with such an incident as Grenfell if it were to occur.

He said: “We need to make certain of our capability to do that and learn any lessons that emerge from events in London.

“My officials and I are in regular contact with counterparts in England and Scotland, to ensure that we pool intelligence and share learning.

“This process is at an early stage and it will be some time before the full truth about what happened at Grenfell Tower is known.

“However, the Welsh Government is completely committed to acting on those findings, while doing all that we can in the meantime to keep the people of Wales safe from fire.”

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee will examine fire safety requirements and the current regulations in Wales on Thursday, July 13, at the Senedd in Cardiff.

Committee chair John Griffiths AM said: “We hope to hear from those responsible in local government, housing associations, and fire and rescue services in Wales. We will then follow up any issues with the Welsh Government.

“We want to ask the questions that people living in tower blocks in Wales are asking, and we will be inviting tenants groups to speak to us.

“We want to receive assurances that where residents have concerns, they are being listened to and addressed.”

See full story in the County Times

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