Fire Safety in Wales—Steps Being Taken Following the Grenfell Tower Fire
Plenary Tuesday 20 June 201714:55:47
Spoken Contribution – 14:55:47
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Thanks to the Minister for his statement today. Yes, this was a major tragedy. I would also like to offer my condolences. As you say, the main thing is that we do learn lessons from it and ensure nothing like that happens in Wales in the future. I think your action in swiftly setting up the expert group is welcome. There are various points that have been made. Bethan made the very valid point that there’s evidence that the tenants group in London actually did warn about a fire previously, so I wondered whether there was any way of, perhaps, regularising procedures whereby tenants groups interact with their landlords, housing associations or local authorities. I wondered what you thought about that.
There are seeming discrepancies about the provision of sprinklers in older blocks. Seemingly, Swansea and Flintshire do have sprinklers already, but Cardiff doesn’t. So, I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy, but perhaps that needs to be addressed.
Another aspect was student accommodation, because there are large student halls of residence that have been constructed recently in Cardiff, and probably in Swansea and Newport as well. I don’t know whether any of them would be brought into the category of high-rise blocks or whether the provisions they’ve got in those buildings need to be looked at.
I don’t know if Jenny Rathbone is speaking in this one, so I’ll just return to the point she made earlier, which was a very specific point about the powers of local government being restored in relation to building inspections. I know that may be slightly beyond your remit, but if you have any thoughts on that, they would be welcome. Thank you.