Leader comment: Public safety must come first

If there are lessons to be learned from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, they must be put into action as soon as possible. Picture: Getty Images
If there are lessons to be learned from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, they must be put into action as soon as possible. Picture: Getty Images
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The decision taken by Nicola Sturgeon to investigate the safety of Scotland’s tower blocks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy is to be welcomed.

Questions are now being asked over the cause of the fire, with the external cladding that was a key part of the refurbishment of the block coming under extensive scrutiny. While it is still too early to point the finger at the material, which passed existing regulations but is believed to be ultimately combustible, it is the right place to look.

How much do we know about thermal cladding panels made of polyisocyanurate which is typically produced as foam?

How widely is it used in Scotland? And crucially, does its use extend outside the remit of local authority housing into the private sector with office buildings also coming into play?

These are questions that must be answered to put minds at ease.

If it turns out that the material is ultimately unsafe then it’s impossible to see how people can continue to live and work in buildings that pose a significant risk.