Schools: Fires

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Labour, Hammersmith

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2018 to Question 183860 on High Rise Flats: Fire Prevention, and reports of high concentrations of toxins in the soil around Grenfell Tower, what assessment the Government has made about the safety of school sites where there have been fires.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Government takes the safety of children and staff in schools very seriously. In the unfortunate event that a school has suffered damage as a result of a fire and requires rebuilding, soil contamination surveys would be expected to be undertaken as part of the feasibility study for the replacement buildings.

Schools also have responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005) to have fire safety management plans in place. These should include risk assessments, which must be updated following any fire incident or any significant change to buildings or operations.

More specifically, in relation to Grenfell, the Communities Secretary has set up a multi-agency expert group which includes the Environment Agency, Public Health England, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and NHS England to make sure soil surveying around Grenfell Tower is comprehensive. The analysis from this survey work will be made available to the public.

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