Government U turn on school fire safety

The government has dropped plans to relax fire safety standards in new schools following the Grenfell Tower fire, it has been reported.

Guidelines being consulted on by the Department of Education (DoE) would have dropped a requirement to have sprinkler systems.

But the government has now made a u-turn on this, The Observer reports.

The newspaper says a suggestion that ‘school buildings do not need to be sprinkler protected to achieve a reasonable standard of safety’ is to be stripped from the revised draft guidance.

A DoE spokesman said: ‘There will be no change to the fire safety laws for schools or our determination to protect children’s safety.

‘It has always been the case, and remains the case, that where the risk assessment required for any new building recommends sprinklers are installed to keep children safe, they must be fitted.

‘Alongside the rest of Government, we will take forward any findings from the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.’

Up to 14,000 people across the country are facing evacuation from their homes after tower blocks failed fire safety tests.

So far, 34 high-rise buildings in cities including London, Manchester, Portsmouth and Plymouth have been identified as potential deathtraps requiring urgent action.

But that figure is expected to rise as tests continue following the Grenfell Tower disaster, which left at least 79 dead.

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