COLLAPSE-PRONE concrete has been found in 14 fire stations and three police stations, including Police Scotland’s Fettes building in Edinburgh, MSPs have been told.

Fettes has been found to have reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) in 10 areas in its roof, extending to more than 4,000 square metres.

With the estimated cost of repair said to be just over £4 million, Police Scotland’s chief financial officer James Gray told a Holyrood committee it is “not economically viable” to carry out the work.

He said Police Scotland is now looking to start a consultation on “exiting” Fettes – which was the headquarters of the former Lothian and Borders force.

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He told how the force checked for the concrete across its entire estate in April “when we identified some crumbling Raac in the Fettes workshop as part of a routine repair”.

Gray told MSPs on the Criminal Justice Committee the substance had also been found in the force’s Baluniefield premises in Dundee, with repairs estimated to cost £1.25 million, and in a boiler room at a Police Scotland building in Perth.

Gray (below)  stressed: “There is no risk to anybody working in these sites, we have removed people from the affected locations and we have put emergency pillars in place and safety nets to ensure there is no debris falling from these roofs.

“Given the age and condition of Fettes, which has been under-invested in for many decades, it is not economically viable to make those repairs, and we are looking to go to the police authority next week to get permission to start a consultation on exiting Fettes and relocating elsewhere in Edinburgh.”

The National: Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray

Ross Haggart, the chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), told the committee Raac had been found in 14 stations, with the concrete used “in the construction of our roofs”.

He said: “This is a problem we have been aware of since 2019 and while we have got mitigation measures in place, permanent solutions are required because they are key locations for us to operate from across Scotland.”

An SFRS submission to the committee did not disclose the stations where Raac has been found, but described them as “key stations within our network”.

Adding that Raac has a “risk of roof collapse as the concrete ages”, the paper said the service has “taken remedial actions to protect firefighters in those stations”.

But it added: “Without permanent improvements or rebuilds, neither we nor our partners who share many of those facilities with us, or the communities who also make use of our buildings, will be able to do so safely in the future.”

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Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said Haggart had been “absolutely right” to say “permanent solutions” are needed.

He is now calling on ministers to publish a full list of buildings across the public sector where the substance has been found, and to set up a national fund to assist with removal costs.

Cole-Hamilton said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service sounded the alarm about Raac from as early as July of last year, but ministers have been happy to sit on their hands.

“From our emergency service and healthcare buildings to our schools, colleges and universities, the extent of this dangerous concrete is far-reaching.

“I want to know why the Scottish Government chose not to act in the face of clear warnings. Ministers must urgently publish a full list of public buildings containing Raac and commit to a national fund that will assist with its removal.”