Clause 30 - Higher-risk buildings etc

Part of Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 21st September 2021.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 2:00 pm, 21st September 2021

Again, we accept the provisions in the clause giving the Welsh Government the desired and important flexibility particularly for buildings that are at risk. Buildings at risk have caused considerable debate and the Minister has referred to the original recommendations by Dame Judith Hackitt. There has been lots of debate in the built environment and among key witnesses. I know that members of the Select Committee on Housing, Communities and Local Government have heard similar evidence advocating for a broader definition of what is at risk. Clearly, many residents and leaseholders are in buildings below 18 metres that are certainly at risk.

I referred earlier to the fire in a care home in Crewe, not far from my constituency in the north-west of England. It was a home for vulnerable people and was constructed out of interesting materials and the results were unfortunately all too plain to see. Thank the Lord, nobody lost their life, but they did lose their home and their possessions. They were definitely at risk. In Runcorn in the neighbouring constituency of my hon. Friend Derek Twigg, the Decks development has had a live application to the building safety fund. A number of buildings are 18 metres and above so they are in scope of the definition in the Bill, but some are below 18 metres and they are constructed with even more inflammable material. Again, they are very much at risk.