Capital high rise residents told cladding ‘not the same as Grenfell’

The city council has said it will look at its fire safety and evacuation measures. Picture; Greg Macvean
The city council has said it will look at its fire safety and evacuation measures. Picture; Greg Macvean
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RESIDENTS of Edinburgh’s high-rise tower blocks have been reassured that the buildings are not clad in the same material as that used on Grenfell Tower in London.

It comes after at least 17 people were killed when a devastating blaze took hold at the west London tower block shortly before 1am on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Theresa May has now ordered a full public inquiry into the fire and what caused it to spread so quickly through the 24-storey tower.

Questions are also being asked about the cladding used on Grenfell after eye witnesses claimed it had helped the flames to spread faster.

However, residents in Edinburgh have been reassured that the material used in the Capital’s 44 tower blocks are not the same as those on the London building.

A spokesman for the city council said they remained “deeply saddened” by the tragic events in London, where the death toll is expected to rise. They added: “Based on our understanding of the materials reportedly used in Grenfell House, we are satisfied that the same types have not been used in over-cladding blocks in Edinburgh.

“We will however keep this under review as information about the materials and construction methods used in Grenfell House and other tower blocks continues to be updated.”

The council said that since the fire in London it had had a “highly visible presence” at Edinburgh’s tower blocks.

They added: “We have sought to reassure residents regarding the approach taken to ensuring fire safety in their buildings, which is based around regular fire risk assessments, daily block inspections and annual inspections by the fire service.

“As a further precaution, we are commissioning a full review of fire safety in our tower blocks. This will include evaluation of all cladding materials and methods, but will further include fire safety procedures, fire prevention and fire suppression.

“Of course, it may be some time before the investigations into the fire, and indeed the public inquiry, are complete.

“We will work closely with the Fire Service to ensure that any findings and recommendations are incorporated into our own practices and procedures.”

It is understood the cladding on high-rise blocks in Edinburgh has a mineral-based core, while the core on Grenfell Tower was made out of plastic.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has said talks have been held over the potential impact of the Grenfell fire.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with those affected by this terrible tragedy. The Scottish Government Resilience Operation has met to discuss any potential impacts for Scotland.

“Scottish Building Standards are devolved and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service works closely with local authorities and housing associations to ensure the safety of occupants in high rise buildings.

“This is an on-going incident and we are awaiting results of the fire investigation which will inform our next steps.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk