Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has called for all high-rise flats in Leeds to have sprinklers fitted following the Grenfell Tower blaze which left 79 dead.
Speaking in a Parliamentary debate yesterday, Ms Reeves joined Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in calling for Government funding to avert a similar disaster happening elsewhere.
Ms Reeves said the cost would be for £30 million for Leeds and added:
“There are 116 blocks of high-rise flats in my city of Leeds, 26 of which are in my constituency. Only eight — those that are sheltered accommodation — have sprinklers.
“It would cost £30 million to have sprinklers in all those flats. Will he [Corbyn] join me in urging the Government to provide the money for all local authorities to put sprinklers in their high-rises?”
Mr Corbyn replied:
“Local authorities that have seen massive cuts in their budgets over the past years need the resources now to install the necessary sprinkler and fire prevention systems. We cannot use the excuse that the money is not there; the money has got to be there to ensure that we save lives in the future. We will support the Government if they are able to bring that forward.”
It has emerged that three West Leeds blocks of flats with cladding all have fire retardant cladding fitted.
Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Communities, said in a statement issued today:
“We are committed to installing sprinklers where they are effective, we are already in the process of retro fitting sprinklers to tower blocks in our estate with five already complete, the sixth is underway and two more are already planned in.
“We are initially targeting blocks of flats which are reserved for older residents, who can be more vulnerable in the case of fire and anticipate accelerating this programme. It is important to recognise that these works are complex, disruptive for residents and take time to complete effectively.
“We believe there now needs to be urgent consideration by national government of the need to retrofit sprinklers in all multi-storey blocks. This should not be subject to a postcode lottery but based on sound evidence and advice. Practical consideration also needs to be given to the capacity of the industry and the level of resource needed to achieve this on a national level.”
Residents in Poplar Mount, Bramley, where several floors were evacuated due to a fire in the early hours of October 29 last year, recently expressed renewed concerns about safety.
Last week, the council announced an immediate review of all fire prevention measures in its high rise blocks is undertaken to ensure they are fit for purpose.