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Islington Council to publish fire risk assessments for all high-rise blocks

PUBLISHED: 18:03 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:25 20 September 2017

Cllr Diarmaid Ward speaking at the Spa Green TMO AGM earlier this month. It was dominated by fire safety concerns. Picture: James Morris

Cllr Diarmaid Ward speaking at the Spa Green TMO AGM earlier this month. It was dominated by fire safety concerns. Picture: James Morris

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Islington Council is publishing all fire risk assessments (FRAs) for its high-rise tower blocks.

The FRAs for the 49 Islington blocks that are 10 storeys or above are expected to go on its website tonight.

It comes three months after councillors backed a motion to bring all FRAs into the public domain following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

In a town hall meeting with the Gazette this afternoon, Islington housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: “Grenfell is a game changer. We want all residents in the borough to be as safe as possible, but we have to be transparent about that, too.

“That’s why we are starting to publish all our high rise FRAs, and we will be moving on to other blocks between six and nine storeys hopefully before the end of the year.”

Cllr Ward said Islington’s 49 high-rise blocks fall into the two lowest-risk categories: “tolerable” and “moderate”. The other two risk ratings are “substantial” and “intolerable”. The ratings for each block will come with a full briefing on how the FRAs are carried out.

Asked why it has taken three months for the council to publish the FRAs, Cllr Ward said: “It would have been very easy to just slap them online. But for a layperson it’s no good for us to slap them online with no information. It’s very important to answer those FAQs.

“I think it shows residents we want to work with them. We want to be transparent and have nothing to hide. There may be areas of concern but there’s no point hiding it. Every building in every borough has work that needs to be done. We pledge it will be easy to contact the council if people have concerns.”

Cllr Caroline Russell, who raised the motion at June’s full council meeting, said today: “I have been calling for them to published ever since Grenfell happened. It’s very important the council has – at last – taken this step.

“It’s a really important step for accountability and giving residents information on the safety of our tower blocks. It’s really important for the TRAs [tenant and resident associations] and TMOs [tenant management organisations] to check the council is doing everything possible to keep people safe.

“We know there are all sorts of problems in buildings, like the Spa Green Estate, where fire risks have been created by shoddy work. So transparency will only help.”

The FRAs are live documents, meaning any issues raised are assigned a timescale for work to be carried out, after which the FRA is updated.

To view the full list of FRAs, visit islington.gov.uk/firesafety.

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