The Mayor of Greater Manchester has established a taskforce to go over all high-rise blocks in the city region “building by building,” as he seeks to reassure tenants after the Grenfell Tower fire.
Burnham met yesterday with councils, landlords and the Greater Manchester fire service, after which he announced that the response to the threat of a similar tower block blaze would be threefold.
Firstly, landlords will be reviewing and issuing updated guidance to residents of high-rise blocks, giving advice of how to respond in case of a fire “immediately”, Burnham said.
“Each block is different, and has different characteristics, so a blanket statement can’t be given.”
Secondly, the taskforce, led by Salford Mayor Paul Dennett, will work through all of Greater Manchester’s buildings, “to provide reassurance to tenants that all homes are fire safe”. Thirdly, the taskforce will inform “a robust response” to the national inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, set up by Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday. “There will be no corners cut”, said Burnham.
Answers are still being sought as to what caused the scale and rapid spread of the Grenfell Tower, with questions over enforcement of building regulations, and the appropriateness of cladding materials.
There are believed to be around 4,000 similar towers in the UK, with 600 of those in the North West.
Burnham again reiterated that Greater Manchester had seen a reduction in the size of its fire service, “limiting the ability to provide tenant reassurance”, which would be one of the key points raised in the response to the national inquiry.
He said that there was a strong case for retrofitting all buildings with sprinkler systems, and said that enforcing that should also be considered by Government.