Number of Scots schools with Grenfell-style cladding is 'horrifying'

More than 100 public buildings including hospitals and primary and secondary schools contain potentially combustible materials.

Number of Scots schools with Grenfell-style cladding is ‘horrifying’, Fire Brigades Union says STV News

The union representing firefighters says work to identify and resolve building safety issues relating to dangerous cladding has been “disgracefully slow”.

New figures obtained through a freedom of information request show at least 109 public buildings, including hospitals and 88 schools have potentially combustible materials either the same or similar to the Grenfell Tower.

The Fire Brigades Union said: “The information coming out of this freedom of information request is horrifying. The work to identify and resolve building safety issues has been disgracefully slow. It simply isn’t good enough.

“The loss of 72 lives in one of the worst fires in UK history should have been a wake-up call for everyone, yet there are still serious problems more than five years later. It is unthinkable that our children are going to school every day in buildings wrapped in the same cladding as the Grenfell Tower.

“Holyrood and Westminster need to work together to sort this building safety crisis, including committing to funding remediation works immediately and recovering the costs from the companies responsible for the problems.

“Until this happens, our children and Scottish firefighters will continue to be at risk. It beggars belief that governments could stand by and let another Grenfell happen, but this is the situation as it stands.”

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The FOI by the Scottish Conservatives showed 71 primary schools and 17 secondary schools across Scotland are affected.

That number includes twelve in Moray and seven in Orkney. While two primary schools in Arbroath were found to have small areas of Alluminium Composite Material (ACM) – the cladding type that was on the Grenfell Tower.

18 Properties were constructed using the same cladding found on Grenfell tower. ACM was found on 18 properties in Scotland, including the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh, Clydebank Leisure centre, and 12 primary schools.

North Lanarkshire has the highest amount of public buildings with dangerous HPL cladding – 41 buildings there are affected – that number includes 33 primary schools and two special schools.

While the affected buildings aren’t in any immediate danger – fire safety experts say the data highlights the need for swifter action to remove any unnecessary risks.

Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for social justice, housing and local government Miles Briggs said: “The SNP have completely taken their eye off the ball on this issue.

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“People will be deeply alarmed and angry to see how many public buildings remain covered in high-risk cladding in Scotland today. 

“While the SNP dither and delay, hundreds of schoolchildren across the country are being taught in unsafe, combustible buildings.

“Despite being given significant funding from the UK Government to fix unsafe and high-risk buildings, the Nationalists have been pitifully slow to make use of it, spending only a fraction of the £100m they have been given so far. 

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We expect the vast majority of buildings with external cladding to meet Scotland’s stringent safety standards. The majority of Scotland’s schools are built to heights under 11 metres – making them lower risk by design.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work with local authorities and others to assess and, where necessary, remediate buildings to minimise risk.

“The Scottish Government received £97.1m in consequentials in 2021-22 and is committed to spending this and any other consequential funding we receive on this programme of work.”

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