Scotland politics

Holyrood committee to review Scottish tower block safety

Grenfell tower block Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cladding is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire at Grenfell Tower

The safety of Scotland's high-rise flats is to be examined by a Holyrood committee following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.

The move comes as the Scottish government continues its investigation of tower blocks in Scotland.

The local government and communities committee said it would review building safety standards "in full, particularly in highly-dense urban areas".

At least 79 people are believed to have died in the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Cladding is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.

The Scottish government announced last week that it was working "intensively" with councils to establish the safety of high-rise flats.

On Friday, it said no local authority or housing association high-rise properties in Scotland had the cladding used in Grenfell Tower.

At the weekend, the UK government reported that cladding on 34 tower blocks in 17 council areas in England had failed fire safety tests.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Scottish government has been working with councils to establish the safety of high-rise flats in Scotland

Local government and communities committee convener Bob Doris 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.

"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.

"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."

'No clarification'

Councils across Scotland have moved to reassure high-rise residents over safety in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

In Aberdeen, the local authority is holding drop-in sessions this week for people living in 20 properties across the city, offering them a chance to raise any concerns.

One tower block resident in West Dunbartonshire said he welcomed news that building standards and conditions would be subject to further scrutiny.

Thomas Sellers, 52, who lives on the eighth floor of a high-rise property in Dumbarton, told BBC Scotland that he and other residents were still looking for reassurance.

He said: "There has been no clarification about whether the building I stay in is safe enough. There are no sprinklers and no main fire alarm for the building and we have no access to the roof as an exit in the event of a fire. We are just looking for answers."

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