Council to invest £10m in fire safety upgrades

A London council has announced a major roll-out of fire safety works to its housing stock in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Brent Council voted to invest £10m into fire protection systems such a sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire alarms to be added to its high-rise blocks.

The council said even though its 37 towers were not found to have dangerous cladding, councillors wanted to go ‘above and beyond’ the official requirements after residents expressed concerns over the current safety standards.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said:

“Grenfell changed everything. When it comes to fire safety, ‘good enough’ is no longer good enough. Here in Brent we have 37 high rise blocks and they’re all fire risk compliant. But we also have lots of people asking whether those rules and regulations are actually up to standard, and who can blame them? So we’ve found the money to go above and beyond what’s required, to ensure that residents are safe – and feel safe – in their homes.”

Mr Butt added the council “can’t afford to wait any longer for Government to take the lead” despite the financial repercussions the funding could have on other services.

Brent Council is responsible for approximately 9,500 council tenants and 3,000 leaseholders’ homes in the borough, which are currently managed by an Arm’s Length Management Organisation – Brent Housing Partnership (BHP).

The £10m is in addition to the almost £10m which the council has already invested in fire safety works – such as fire doors, fire detection systems, lighting and signs – in Brent blocks since 2012.

While no council block in Brent has used the Aluminium Composite Material (ACM), which has been the subject of recent Government tests, a number of blocks run by registered housing providers in Brent have. The London Fire Brigade has visited these blocks and advised that evacuation of these blocks is not necessary due to the standard of fire safety measures in place in the blocks, all of which are new-builds and not retro-fitted properties.