Wind gusts have caused damage to the plastic sheet protecting Grenfell Tower. The following statement has been released by the Government.
Specialist contractors have confirmed that the winds at the weekend have had no effect on the structural safety of the Tower or the scaffolding.
The scaffolding around Grenfell Tower provides a frame for two layers of protective wrapping – an outer layer of white wrapping, and an inner layer of blue wrapping.
Together, both layers of wrapping serve three purposes. Firstly, to stop loose material and debris from being blown away from the building. Secondly, to protect the building from the elements. Finally, to sensitively and respectfully cover the building from view.
Inspections yesterday and this morning indicate no debris from the Tower has been identified in the local area. We have conducted close-up inspections and none of the inner blue layer of wrapping has been damaged. However, damage to the external white wrapping is obvious.
We prioritised replacing the damaged wrapping on the 10th floor facing Kensington Aldridge Academy first and this work was completed by 10am this morning.
Further work higher up the north side of the Tower and on the south side of the Tower will be completed later today and tomorrow morning. Teams were on site until 10pm on Sunday and started again at first light this morning.
Some members of the community have expressed concern about the impact of high winds on air quality, and potential exposure to asbestos. I appreciate this issue is of great importance to the community and strict precautions have always been followed to safeguard against any form of contamination.
Loose debris from within the Tower is sealed in robust bags designed to contain material which might be hazardous. These have been ‘double bagged’ as an additional precaution. Most of these bags have now been removed from site following a commitment made in the autumn and the remaining bags are in the process of being removed. Air testing takes place every time bags are moved and no elevated levels of asbestos have been detected so far.
Public Health England undertake and publish weekly monitoring of air quality. You can view these results here.
To date, the results of this ongoing monitoring has shown the risk to public health in the area to be consistently low.
As an extra measure of reassurance, I have asked for additional monitoring to take place this week while strong winds are forecast. I will share these results with you, Public Health England, the Government and others.
The Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning tomorrow night and during Wednesday (12 and 13 March). The sustained wind speeds are expected to be less than over the weekend, but there is the possibility of stronger gusts.
Prior to the arrival of bad weather, my team are reviewing and replacing any of the fixtures which attach the wrapping to the scaffolding to reduce the risk of further damage. If necessary, we will provide updates about any damage by using Twitter.