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High speed rail link building site
The problematic HS2 railway project reflects wider concerns with British infrastructure
(Image credit: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty)

Lately, it can seem as though Britain is crumbling around us. A number of schools in England have had to close while hundreds of others will have to do without buildings that are at risk of collapse, the government announced this week, leaving thousands of pupils facing a return to lockdown-era remote learning.

The culprit? Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), a “crumbly” material widely used in building from the 1950s until the mid-1990s. Ministers are under pressure to explain why they waited until now to announce the decision – just days before the new school year begins – when the risks of RAAC have been known since 2018.

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