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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
April 4, 2018

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MP calls for rethink over sprinkler funding

A Leeds MP has called on the Government to rethink a decision over funding sprinkler installations in the city, following a tower block fire last week.

Rachel Reeves has written to the communities secretary Sajid Javid and called on his department to offer the “necessary funding”, following the fire in Poplar Court in Bramley.

Sprinklers deemed not essential

In her letter, Ms Reeves says Leeds City Council needs a total of £32 million to cover work to improve safety standards in all its high-rise blocks.

But she claims the Government has previously said it “would not contribute any funding” because it did not “deem the installation of sprinklers to be essential”.

13 fires

“There have been 13 fires in flats and communal areas in the four Popular high-rises in the last three years alone,” the letter states.

“Residents were offered alternative accommodation, but this fire and the fear of more to come – are understandably causing residents a great deal of distress,” the letter adds.

Call for sprinklers

“Sprinklers can put fires out at source, protecting the individual tenant and providing peace of mind to everyone.

“By allocating funding to Leeds City Council to retrofit sprinklers, the Government could help alleviate my constituents’ fear and allow them to feel safe in their own homes.”

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said the fire at Poplar Court was promptly extinguished and contained to just one flat.

“As with the national fire strategy for high rise blocks, in Leeds we have standalone alarms in each flat to allow for fires to be contained in the most efficient and safest way possible – as can be demonstrated by the outcome of today,” added the spokeswoman.

“We want to reassure people living in high rise blocks across the city that we have the relevant fire safety mechanisms and checks in place and will monitor and check buildings regularly.”

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