United Kingdom parliament could suffer same fate as Notre Dame, warn MPs

17 Avril, 2019, 19:10 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The Houses of Parliament are a fire risk it has been claimed

The estate is vulnerable to fire and flood because of outdated wiring, heating and sewerage systems while an overhaul, which MPs have agreed to in principle, has been delayed by years. The 900-year-old Westminster Hall survived the inferno.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who sat on a joint committee of parliamentarians from both Houses which examined the issue, said: "We have taken far too long already putting our fire safety measures in place". Earlier this month, a water leak in the Commons caused debates to be suspended briefly. 'Parts of the Palace are as old as Notre Dame and we must make sure that every fire precaution is taken as the major work goes ahead. "God knows we've had enough warnings".

Mr Corbyn said the blaze at Notre Dame was "very, very sad" and warned that the fire risk was "huge" for Parliament.

US President Donald Trump said: "So awful to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris". 'If any of those were destroyed in fire, how would we feel about it?

Above ground much of the building - with many kitchens, trailing electrical wires, thousands of computers, extensive wood panelling and rooms packed with books and documents - is a fire trap. A joint committee report warned in 2016 that Parliament would be hit by a "catastrophic event, such as a major fire.in the next decade".

"On my induction, my "buddy" was an engineer", she said. "He showed me the electrics - it looked like a health and safety disaster and fire waiting to happen".

Earlier this week Theresa May's deputy, David Lidington, said it was "very lucky no one has been seriously injured" in Westminster.

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Writing in the Bucks Free Press, he said: "several times in the past year, chunks of masonry have fallen off buildings".

Although architect Charles Barry put fire safety at the centre of his designs for the new Palace by using cast iron and stone, the opulent interiors he created with Augustus Welby Pugin used vast quantities of combustible materials.

The Palace of Westminster is also undergoing major fix work, but experts caution that the work is proceeding too slowly, and every day the risk of fire grows greater.

The implementation of the "restoration and renewal" programme for the Houses of Parliament, originally built in the 11th century, is not scheduled to start until mid-2020s.

This and the huge network of ventilation shafts and floor voids they created to aid ventilation had the unintended effect of creating ideal conditions for fire and smoke to spread throughout the building.

Every hour of every day, teams of fire safety officers patrol the Palace of Westminster on alert for the first signs of problems that could develop into a devastating blaze.

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