Safety at sporting venues and tall buildings to be scrutinised over heightened terrorism fears.
Security experts are scrutinising high-profile buildings in London and north-east England because of heightened fears of terrorist attacks.

Buildings such as Canary Wharf in London Docklands and the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, are facing safety audits to assess their vulnerability of biological strikes or attack from the air.

Local authority building control departments are concentrating on the effects of air attack on tall buildings in London, whereas in the North-east experts are focusing on the threat of biological attack.

A working group made up of the heads of building control in London local authorities was established last month to carry out an audit. The group will report on the structural robustness of buildings, potential fire hazards and evacuation procedures.

Sunderland council is planning to assess the risk of biological warfare to landmark buildings. The tests could be expanded to Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham.

The decision to take the risk of terrorism more seriously comes as the DTLR prepares changes to the Building Regulations in light of 11 September. It also comes just a week after the government announced it is to an invest an extra £53m in the fire service because of the threat of biological attack.

The London risk assessment is being carried out by the London District Surveying Association. Bob Jones, president of the LDSA, said it would report next month. He said the issue of biological attack would be considered, but he would not be drawn on the detail of proposals.

The measures to deal with a biological attack would look at heating and ventilation

Ken Scott, building control officer

The DTLR originally approached the Corporation of London to hear its views about how Building Regulations could be beefed up, but has now extended the review to all inner London councils, including Southwark and Westminster.

Officials in the North-east consider the Stadium of Light in Sunderland to be at risk because of its international standing and capacity of 48,300. The city's building control division is taking into account the threat of biological attack in its safety assessment.

The club may have to make changes when the stadium's safety certificate expires at the end of this season.

Sunderland council's chief building control officer Ken Scott said contingency procedures were in place in case of a bomb alert but not for biological attacks.

Scott said: "The measures to deal with a biological attack could be to assess how the workings of the heating and ventilating systems could be used to contain dangerous spores and how quickly smoke extractors could contain the spores and prevent them from being leaked to the public."

Landmarks facing terror audits

  • The Houses of Parliament
  • The Canary Wharf, Citigroup and HSBC towers in London Docklands
  • The Stadium of Light, Sunderland football club’s ground
  • Metro shopping centre in Gateshead
  • St James’s Park, Newcastle FC’s ground
  • Durham Cathedral
  • Lloyd’s headquarters in the City of London
  • Centre Point tower in central London