William Eichler 27 March 2019

Councils urge Government to fund sprinkler installations

Local authorities have called on the Government to fund the installation of sprinklers in high-rise buildings two years after the Grenfell tragedy.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, the Cabinet Member for Homes & Neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council, delivered a letter to the Prime Minister today making the case for emergency funding from Whitehall.

The letter, signed by the Deputy Mayor of London, eight Core Cities and other local authorities, calls on Government to fund the installation of sprinklers into all council and housing association-owned residential buildings above 18 metres.

Multiple organisations, including the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, National Fire Chiefs Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects, have made the same request in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

However, the Government has so far made no funding available for the retrofitting of sprinklers.

‘Following recommendations from both the Hackitt report and the government, authorities have gone back to their tenants to listen to their concerns,’ said Cllr Thompson.

‘We can now say with surety that the number one issue is for them to simply feel safe in their own homes.

‘With this in mind, Birmingham has committed to spending over £54m in three years on fire safety in its 213 high-rise tower blocks.

‘However, in a time of austerity, when local authorities across the country are and having budgets cut and are need to make some really tough financial choices, we need Government to work with us and enable the recommendations put forward by experts to be implemented for the safety of citizens across the country.’

Cllr Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said it was time for the Government to ‘stop ignoring councils’ pleas for help and put its money where its mouth is.’

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