Eight Leeds towers out of 100 are getting sprinklers

The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster
The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster
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Only eight of around 100 high-rise housing blocks in Leeds are being fitted with sprinkler systems, it has emerged.

Leeds city council revealed details of the works it had in progress in response to questions posed a week after the Grenfell Tower disaster which claimed at least 79 lives.

The city council said it was prioritising tower blocks reserved for older residents, with five complete, one in progress and two more planned. The works were already under way before last week’s tragedy in London.

It said it “anticipated accelerating the programme”, but added that the rest of the city’s high rise estate should be a matter for national policy and not a “postcode lottery”.

The government’s current guidance is to “consider” fitting sprinklers to residential tower blocks over 30m high. But yesterday, Sheffield Council said it would install systems in all its 24 blocks - and a senior firefighter called for “decisive action” across the country.

Dave Curry, chief fire officer in Hampshire, where a tower blaze in 2010 killed two colleagues, said sprinklers could “drastically reduce the threat to life”.

Anthony Johnstone, a resident of the Poplar Mount block in Bramley, where several floors were evacuated during an arson attack last year, called for sprinkles to be fitted universally.

Mr Johnstone, 30, said: “Everyone has a right to safety.”

He plans to meet Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves tomorrow, to discuss the issue.

Coun Debra Coupar, the council’s executive member for communities said: “We have always treated fire prevention as a top priority.”

But she warned that the installation of sprinklers was “complex and disruptive for residents”.

She added: “We believe there now needs to be urgent consideration by national government of the need to retrofit sprinklers in all multi storey blocks.

“This should not be subject to a postcode lottery but based on sound evidence and advice.”

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