Councils given powers to enforce removal of cladding from private buildings

30 Nov 18

Local authorities have been given the government’s “full support” to take enforcement action to remove Grenfell-style cladding from private buildings.

Councils will receive financial support to “speed up” the removal of the cladding from private buildings over 18 metres, the government has said.

The cost of removals will be recovered from building owners, according to an announcement from communities secretary James Brokenshire yesterday.

In a written statement he said: “I am writing to local authorities with buildings where the owner refuses to remediate unsafe ACM cladding, to offer them our full support to take enforcement action.

“This will include financial support where this is necessary for the local authority to carry out emergency remedial work.”

On the same day, Brokenshire laid before parliament regulations to give legal effect to the ban on ACM cladding announced in summer.  

Brokenshire said that as of 31 October, 289 private sector high-rise residential buildings had the unsafe cladding.

Of these, removals had been completed on 19 buildings, started in 21 cases and there were removal plans in place for 98 buildings.

The government has already spent £400m to support the removal of unsafe cladding from high-rise social housing in England.

Brokenshire said: “My message is clear – private building owners must pay for this work now or they should expect to pay more later.”

Lord Porter, chair of the Local Government Association, said: “Councils worked hard to try and confirm with building owners whether they have dangerous cladding on their high-rise residential buildings. Some private landlords have shown a lack of urgency to identify which buildings have cladding and insulation systems that have failed fire safety tests and take steps to make them safe.

“The measures announced today will therefore help councils take the steps necessary to ensure all residents in their local area are safe and feel safe in their homes, regardless of whether they own the block or not, and to ensure that a tragedy like that at Grenfell never happens again.”

A review into the Grenfell Tower fire by Dame Judith Hackitt was criticised for failing to call for a ban on ACM cladding.

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