17 Jun 2024
Cllr Anthony Martinelli

Cambridge Lib Dems have called for urgent action after new figures revealed cases of damp, condensation, and mould (DCM) in the City Council’s own housing have continued to grow into the summer months. Figures published at June’s meeting of the Housing Scrutiny Committee showed that reported cases of DCM in council homes hit a new record high of 86 in May of this year. Council officers had hoped numbers would fall after the winter, but instead they have continued to rise.

Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Cllr Anthony Martinelli commented: 

“It is really distressing to see that issues with damp and mould continue to plague council housing in this city even as the weather gets warmer. We know that exposure to damp and mould can cause significant health problems, particularly to vulnerable residents and those with chronic conditions such as asthma. This has become a focus of national attention since the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak was ruled to be due to mould in his home in 2020. The city council has a responsibility to ensure no one is forced to live in such potentially dangerous conditions.

“Both this year and last year the Liberal Democrat group submitted proposals to employ a dedicated Damp, Condensation and Mould (DCM) Surveyor as part of our amendments to the Council’s housing budget. Despite being fully-costed and funded, these plans were shockingly rejected by the Labour group. We believe a dedicated DCM Officer would provide flexibility to tackle issues with damp now and, importantly, could work proactively to tackle the root causes and to stop cases arising in the future. We are now seeing the results of rejecting these practical proposals: damp cases are rising and the council is faced with shelling out for temporary external contractors to manage the backlog. 

“We urge the city council to take real action on this critical and potentially life-threatening issue by dedicating proper resource to understanding the scale of the problem in council houses and taking urgent action to fix it as soon as possible.”

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