My week started with a 9am briefing this morning from senior council and fire service officials. Since the tragedy happened at Grenfell House in West London they have been looking at fire safety in Edinburgh's high rise blocks. Everyone is anxious to make sure that such a horrific tragedy cannot happen again.
There are 45 multi-storey blocks of flats in Edinburgh - housing about 4000 tenants. Of these, 16 are relatively modern and have not been refurbished. The remaining 29 have had works done including external cladding. Every single one of them was inspected last week and we were told that in no case were materials used which were the same as those in Grenfell. All the cladding and insulation panels are mineral based and non-combustible.
I asked for a brief specific report on each individual block outlining construction method and material, fire safety procedures and recommendations for improvement. I will make this available on my website when I have it.
Officials are confident that a tragedy like Grenfell could not happen here but no-one is complacent and procedures are being reviewed. Last year in Edinburgh there were seven domestic fires in tower blocks in Edinburgh and all of them were contained. Physical safety improvements such as sprinkler systems will also be reviewed. We were given assurances that money was not the issue - tenants and public safety comes first. There is money for improvement works in the housing revenue account and if required it can be prioritised to do fire safety works.
I will continue to monitor the situation with senior council officers over the coming weeks and publicise more information as I have it.