Parliament’s granite panels shaken loose during storm

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SIX large granite panels on the Scottish Parliament have had to be taken down after the building was battered in the storm.

Two of the panels became “partially detached” in Thursday’s high winds and the other four were removed as a precaution.

All six panels were on the south wall of Tower 1, which houses committee rooms and clerks’ offices. The damage was discovered yesterday morning.

Officials have now begun a detailed inspection of all cladding panels across the site.

The problem comes after a granite slab became “partially detached” near the roof of the MSPs’ restaurant in May.

A statement issued to building users last night from the chief executive’s office said: “Thursday’s storm prompted officials to instigate additional building inspections. The inspection this morning revealed that two granite cladding panels had become partially detached from the south elevation of Tower 1. The situation was dealt with quickly. The panels were removed and the areas nearby were cordoned off as a precaution. Inspections were immediately made to surrounding panels and a further four were removed as a precaution.

“A full visual inspection of the campus has now been carried out and we have no reason to believe that any other panels have become partially detached.

“It is important to stress that the panels are not, and have never been, a public safety risk.”

While the parliament was being built, those in charge of the project were criticised for failing to carry out traditional wind tunnel tests on the design. Experts warned that high winds between buildings were capable of blowing people off their feet and sucking the cladding off buildings in extreme cases.

Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald said she hoped no more problem panels would be found. But she added: “I do hope the people who called me a party-pooper and worse feel a little ashamed at having brushed aside the cautionary note sounded at the time.”