Cladding from 60 tower blocks across England fail government tests

26 Jun 17

The number of high-rise blocks that have failed the government’s combustibility test has risen to 60 across 25 areas in England.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said over the weekend all landlords and fire and rescue services for local authorities affected have been alerted to the results.

“We are in touch with all of them to support and monitor follow-up action,” he said.

He also explained local authorities were contacting fire and rescue services in their areas to carry out fire safety inspections on affected tower blocks and find out what ‘remedial works’ might be required.

It was “very important for local authorities and housing associations to continue to submit such samples as a matter of urgency,” he added.

The Communities and Local Government department ordered cladding samples from high-rise buildings to be tested at the Building Research Establishment after at least 79 people died in a Kensington and Chelsea tower block fire on 14 June.

Javid also said the “cladding itself is not dangerous, but it is important that the right type is used”.

Its failure to pass the ‘combustibility test’ did not mean a building had to be evacuated, he stated.

Camden Council decided to evacuate four of the five towers on the Chalcots Estate, affecting 650 homes, this weekend because the failed testing of the external cladding was compounded by multiple other fire safety failures in the blocks.

The local authority is covering the cost of hotel rooms for residents, with a cap of up to £200 a night.

Although, around 200 residents from 120 households refused to leave their homes in the towers on Saturday night.

Georgia Gould, leader of Camden Council, today said: “We have undertaken works to ceilings, electric doors and cupboards and I am very pleased with the pace of our dedicated teams.”

The Liberal Democrats demanded that the government end the 1% cap on public sector pay and up-rate wages in line with inflation in light of the recent emergency incidents, including the Grenfell Tower fire.

Tim Farron, Lib Dem leader, said: “Terror attacks in London and Manchester and the Grenfell Tower tragedy have reminded us how our emergency services deal with the most terrible of events with professionalism and courage. They deserve a pay rise, not a pay cut."

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell, speaking in a panel debate, at Glastonbury’s Left Field event yesterday suggested those in the tower were “murdered by political decisions” in recent decades.

"The decision not to build homes and to view housing as only for financial speculation rather than for meeting a basic human need made by politicians over decades murdered those families," he said.

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