Monmouth MP blasts Welsh council for failure to comment on dangerous concrete
Twm Owen – Local Democracy Reporter
A Welsh council has come under fire for a failure to comment on the unsafe concrete crises that has already closed two schools in Wales.
Both schools, on the island of Anglesey, were shut on Monday, but Welsh education minister Jeremy Miles has warned that others could follow with more than 150 across England identified as having the potentially dangerous concrete that is at risk of crumbling with scores of schools across the border closed.
While authorities in Gwent have issued updates on measures they are taking in assisting the Welsh Government in surveying buildings, and offered some assurances, there has been no comment from Monmouthshire County Council.
That has prompted Monmouth MP David TC Davies, who sits in the UK Government as Welsh secretary, to call for a statement from the local authority.
He has also asked the Labour led council’s cabinet member for education, Martyn Groucutt, to clarify what advice it had received on the safety of the flawed reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
Welsh education minister Mr Miles has said the government is working with councils and with the intention of identifying any schools potentially at risk from the concrete that can collapse without warning over this week and next.
There has also been disagreement between governments in Cardiff and London over how advice related to schools was shared.
In his letter Mr Davies said he would have expected Monmouthshire County Council to have been more proactive in updating the public.
He wrote: “I will be very grateful if you could tell me whether the Welsh Government has ever formally asked Monmouthshire County Council to undertake an inspection of the school estate specifically to identify RAAC.
“If so, I would appreciate confirmation of when this happened and whether RAAC has been found in any schools in Monmouthshire. Either way, I would have expected the council to issue a public statement to reassure parents, staff and pupils.”
Monmouthshire County Council has been approached for comment but as yet hasn’t provided a formal response.
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