The government have refused to fund the installation of fire safety sprinklers, as the council plans to continue to install them in high rise blocks across the city.
Following the Grenfell tower tragedy, claiming the lives of 72 people back in June 2017, Leeds City Council are spending £10 million on installing sprinklers in 116 of the tower blocks, without external funding from the government.
Councillor Barry Anderson, the chair of the scrutiny board for environment, housing and communities, told Leeds Hacks news that the government had told them to use their existing resources to fund such work, and what the most recent plans are from the council regarding this decision: ”In November 2018 the council received correspondence from councillor Sharron Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, Birmingham City Council to provide information on their combined lobbying with Croydon to request funding from the Government to fund sprinkler systems, and to ask if other Core Cities would be interested in coordinating an approach to request funding for this work.”
The Government isn't funding the installation of sprinklers in Leeds high-rises because it has decided they are not essential for fire prevention.
The Government should urgently rethink its decision and provide funding to protect high-rises in Leeds from the risk of fire. pic.twitter.com/fs3dSn484K
— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) March 29, 2018
Leeds city council have since responded directly to Birmingham city council to confirm their support of any joint lobbying to ask for funding for this work.
Councillor Anderson also said: ‘Despite no additional funding being made available, the council had already completed the installation of a sprinkler system to all our sheltered high rise blocks and has developed a further programme to proactively install sprinklers to our high rise stock across the City.”
On the reason for the importance of this work, Councillor Anderson added: ”You cannot overstate how important personal safety and if they save one life they are worthwhile.” It’s the opinion of many post Grenfell, as the London fire commissioner said that the Grenfell fires must be a ”turning point” and called for sprinklers in all high rise council flats.
By Holly Green