A FIREFIGHTERS' union leader has called for immediate safety checks at Scotland's high-rise flats in the wake of the devastating fire at a tower block in west London.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) official Chris McGlone said swift action was overdue and was now needed to update safety regulations for high-rise buildings. The last major review was held after a 1999 blaze at a multi-storey in Irvine, Ayrshire, he said. McGlone added that a review would help "reassure" residents living in similar properties across Scotland following the blaze at Grenfell Tower.

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week said a ministerial group would be launched to review regulations of Scotland's tower blocks.

Local councils have also been asked to collate information on their high-rise buildings and state what remedial works have been carried out.

McGlone has now said immediate safety checks at high-rise properties were needed. McGlone, the FBU's most senior Scottish representative, insisted tower blocks were safe in Scotland. But he said that in the light of such an “extreme” incident at Grenfell that carrying out safety checks at Scotland's tower blocks without delay would be “sensible”.

McGlone said a probe was overdue, as he claimed the last major review was held after a 1999 blaze in when an elderly man died and five other people were injured when fire swept through a 14-storey block of flats in Irvine, Ayrshire.

A inquiry into the incident found that cladding on the outside of the building may have contributed to the fire's severity and it called for improved standards.

McGlone said there was now an urgent need for an updated review of safety in high-rise flats. He said: "It's a seminal moment for building regulations in the UK. After such a massive and extreme incident, it's a sensible and reasonable expectation to have a review in Scotland as part of this. There has been a lot of remedial work on multi-storey buildings over the years.

"The fire in Ayrshire in 1999 is an anchor point and I think it would have informed future refurbishments. It's highly likely these were done properly, but there is a clear need to double check in light of this tragedy.

"I'd broaden it a bit and look at all multi-storey flats that have been refurbished with similar materials since their original construction."

McGlone who is on the FBU’s UK ruling executive council, which is to discuss its full response to the tragedy at a series of meetings in London this week.

The FBU official said building materials tended to be stronger in Scotland than England because of the harsh weather conditions.

But McGlone said that if he lived in high-rise flats that he would welcome some reassurance.

McGlone said: "You could find that for building material, something that's acceptable in England is not acceptable in Scotland. Traditionally building regulations in Scotland are a lot stricter and roofs tend to be a lot more robust than in southern England, partly because of the extremes of weather. But it would still be a reasonable time following such an extreme and tragic incident to review these types of properties.

"We feel that would give the necessary reassurances to communities in Scotland. We think it's seems sensible following such an extreme event to carry out a review of buildings that were similarly refurbished to ensure that the cladding is fit for purpose. What's happened obviously justifies spending a bit of public money on a review of similar properties. People will be concerned and if I were living in a multi-storey flat I'd welcome a bit of reassurance."

McGlone, a firefighter with decades of experience, said he had never encountered a tower block blaze in which the fire ripped through from one apartment to another.

He said: "The FBU opinion is that multi-storey flats are very safe because they are self-contained concrete apartments. They are very, very safe, but we should still double check to reassure communities."

In response to the FBU call, a Scottish Government spokesperson said that ministers would review the regulations following the London fire disaster.

The government spokesperson said: “Cabinet secretary for communities Angela Constance will convene a short-term ministerial working group involving the housing minister and minister for community safety to review Scottish regulations and ensure they are robust.

“The group will meet as soon as it is practical and will cover both building and fire safety regulations, as well as any other relevant issues.

“Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has already raised this issue in discussion with local authorities today and has written to all councils and registered social landlords asking them to urgently collate information on their high-rise buildings and what, if any, remedial works have been done to them."