Plaid Cymru comment on the Welsh Government’s statement on its response to the Grenfell Tower Fire

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Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru shadow Communities Secretary said:

“We welcome the fact that the Cabinet Secretary has updated the Assembly this week on what the next steps are in the Welsh Government’s response. We said last week that people needed to receive updates regularly, and the need to fully understand the extent of the issue at hand. I hope that this will now happen.

“There are still questions which will need to be answered in due course. Let’s be clear. There are 4 blocks in Swansea which have failed the tests. If other blocks of flats fail tests elsewhere in Wales, what happens? We must be sure that the other mitigating measures to protect the flats are sufficient enough to justify the decision not to evacuate and move the tenants elsewhere. That is why I asked to be able to see written assurances from the Fire and Rescue Services that they are content with the current situation, and that the flats are safe for residents.

“It is necessary for us to know what the UK advisory panel recommend now. If there is a recommendation for further testing or that current measures put in place to ensure safety at blocks which have failed tests, be increased, then we need to make sure the Welsh Government is ready with the fire service to act swiftly in the best interests of residents, and that there is capacity to do so.

“I’m also pleased that the Government is planning to issue guidance on testing and safety procedures to owners and managers of tower blocks in private hands. I called for this to happen last week, and this needs to be done to make sure we don’t overlook anyone. We need to have a plan in place to make sure that any blocks with cladding which could be flammable get support to be tested as soon as possible. This goes for hospitals, student halls and other relevant buildings too.

“There needs to be clarity from the UK advisory panel as to what level of safety cladding samples are being tested. If cladding is being tested at a higher standard than current building and fire safety regulations require, and failing, then we need to be prepared to look into a much wider review of current building and fire regulations in Wales to determine if it is enough.

“I think that we should all ensure that we are asking the right questions and scrutinising effectively as we move forward. We all want to see the Welsh Government taking the right actions, at the right time.”

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