Hundreds of people living in council housing in Aberdeen are being evacuated after their homes were found to contain reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

Last year, following a widescale survey, panels containing the 'bubbly' form of concrete were found in around 500 homes in Balnagask in Torry.

These included 364 council properties, with 299 occupied by council tenants.

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An independent structural engineers’ report handed over to the council last week recommended that tenants be “relocated to alternative accommodation within the city as soon as possible.”

The city has set aside an initial £3 million to cover the rehoming programme.

The council says it is “currently exploring options for the long-term viability for the site, which include remedial works or demolition.”

Those affected have been invited to meet with a housing and support officer in their home.

The Council has also contacted owners and private tenants to advise them of the current position.

Councillor Miranda Radley, Convener of the Communities, Housing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This is an incredibly difficult situation for everyone living in a RAAC affected property, but the Council will be doing everything we can to support our tenants during this hugely challenging time.

"These are people's homes and we need to ensure we support our tenants, but also engage with owners and privately rented tenants, to keep them informed on this matter.”

The Herald: BalnagaskBalnagask (Image: free)

Scottish Tory MSP for the North East, Liam Kerr said this would be an "incredibly distressing announcement for residents in Aberdeen."

He added: “Dozens of young families live in these properties as well as the elderly and those with additional support needs.

“Residents are now facing the traumatic predicament of not knowing where they will be moved to and for the 65 homeowners who have bought a council house, what the process will be for getting their money back.

“At a time when there are a lack of homes across the city and council budgets are being slashed by the SNP-Green Government, serious questions must be answered on where these replacement properties will be found for tenants."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said there were still many questions that needed to be answered.

READ MORE: What is Raac and what buildings has it been used in besides schools?

“Since I first raised this issue with the First Minister almost a year ago, the Scottish Government has been astonishingly cavalier about the presence of dangerous concrete across the country.

“Today’s news will turn the lives of hundreds of people upside down. It will be incredibly worrying that the roof above their head could pose a danger to them.

It flies in the face of the government’s litany of excuses and insistence that there is nothing to see here. Scottish Liberal Democrats have helped uncover the presence of this dangerous concrete in schools, hospitals, universities, colleges, fire and police stations.

“We need to know what how this report and decision will impact on the continued use of all of these buildings across Scotland. People deserve to know what is going on.”

Scottish Labour North East MSP Michael Marra said: “This deeply worrying news will bring significant disruption to the lives of many in Aberdeen.

“I urge Aberdeen City Council to ensure residents are rehomed as quickly as possible.

“A long-term solution for the affected properties must be found, and quickly, to minimise the upheaval and uncertainty for residents.

“The Scottish Government must also act to determine how widespread RAAC is in homes across Scotland.”

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The aerated autoclaved concrete used in Raac is made by adding aluminium into a lime or cement based concrete mix, which reacts to make millions of tiny bubbles which form the bulk of the material.

The steel reinforcement is coated with a latex or cement mix before the concrete is then cast around it.

The material is mostly found as precast panels in roofs, as well as floors and walls.

It was used in British buildings from the 1950s to the mid-1990s, partly because it is significantly cheaper than traditional dense concrete, and is quicker and easier to install.

However, it less durable than concrete, and is prone to collapse when wet, as moisture soaks into its aerated holes.

It has a life expectancy of little more than 30 years.