Bishop of St Albans asks about grants for installation of sprinkler systems in buildings

Following a government statement on building safety on 11th January 2022, the Bishop of St Albans asked a question on whether the government would fund the installation of sprinkler systems in taller buildings:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Secretary of State announced an additional £27 million for fire alarms. Are similar grants being considered for installing sprinklers in buildings over 11 metres?

Lord Greenhalgh (C0n): My Lords, I am delighted that we have heard from not just one but two Bishops, because the right reverend Prelate has been a tireless campaigner on behalf of people in St Albans and beyond. The additional £27 million comes on top of the first tranche of money, which was £30 million, so we are talking about nearly £60 million towards providing alarm systems in buildings, rather than the ridiculous practice of having “waking watch” costs month by month, which run to hundreds of thousands of pounds for leaseholders to bear. We must look at how we encourage mitigation as the solution. I am not sure—I am not a fire engineer—but sprinklers are a potential way to achieve that, particularly in low-rise buildings. We have not necessarily looked at taxpayer funding, but we will take that away and see how we can best encourage more mitigation where that is a safe and sensible end-point and ensure that we can avoid costly remediation being the preferred option, if we can make a building safe enough.


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