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Safety grilles - 8 October 2014

Any suggestion that Cardiff University erected the safety grilles to deter homeless people is wholly inaccurate and completely misleading.

The decision to erect grilles was taken in the interests of health and safety.

The area covered by the safety grilles are not hot air vents but boiler flue vents that can potentially produce products of combustion - diluted amounts of carbon monoxide being one of these - as part of the diluted boiler flue gases.

The two vents in question are boiler flue dilution and combustion air intake and extract grilles. These vents are considered safe in normal use due to the type of flue dilution system being used but there could potentially be an increased risk if people are sleeping right next to the grilles for very long periods.

The University has been working with security to reduce this potential risk to people sleeping directly in front of the boiler flue outlets and, in the interests of health and safety, the decision was taken to install a set of safety grilles.

These safety grilles allow even more air diffusion than normally required and therefore further reduces any risks to anyone who may choose to sleep in this vicinity.

In addition to the sleeping risk identified there is also an increased risk to adjacent buildings as a consequence of air intakes and extracts becoming blocked.

This could cause problems for the supply air coming in, affecting our controlled environments which have to run 24 hours and potentially cause a build-up of gases and heat in the basement of the adjacent building.

The combination of the risk to our research and teaching activities led the University to take action to address the risk.

Cardiff University could not accept this risk to the homeless or to staff and students.