At least 75 UK high-rises have combustible cladding

Nick Myall
Thursday 22 Jun 2017

High Rise buildings across the UK are being tested for potentially dangerous cladding

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in the UK, which left 79 people dead or missing, presumed dead, similar high rise buildings are being checked to ascertain if they feature similar cladding to that used at Grenfell.

According to UK governement sources around 600 high rises across England are using cladding. Seventy-five samples have failed tests across 26 local authority areas with none of the buildings that have been tested passing. A No 10 spokeswoman said it was a "matter of absolute urgency" to tell the  residents affected.

Towers in several areas of the UK have failed the tests, including; Camden, Barnet and Brent in London as well as, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Norwich, Manchester and Sunderland.

Cladding that was put up on three towers in Granville Road, Barnet in London in 2012 is to be removed after failing the tests.

Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, said: "Although the exterior cladding panels are similar to those reportedly used at Grenfell Tower, the insulation materials behind the exterior panels are different and made from a non-combustible mineral fibre material.

"In addition, fire stops have been installed at each floor level and around each window.

"While the difference in the cladding system at Granville Road mitigates the fire risk, we are not prepared to take any chances with the safety of residents."

The UK prime minister Theresa May said all local authorities responsible for the flats had been told. Residents of affected buildings could be rehomed if the blocks are found to be unsafe after further tests.

The Government is performing tests on 100 tower blocks a day, with results coming back "within hours", Mrs May said.

The announcement comes following the resignation of the boss of Kensington and Chelsea Council in the wake of criticism of the London authority's response.

Speaking in the Commons, Mrs May said that Kensington and Chelsea Council "couldn't cope" in the aftermath of the fire, and that it "was right" its chief executive, Nicholas Holgate, had stepped down.

As of midday on Thursday 22.6.17, just under £1m of Government funding had been distributed to families affected by the blaze.

UK Councils have been told to give details to the government about the cladding they used in their tower blocks by Monday 26.6.17. The Department for Communities and Local Government is then co-ordinating tests on the cladding.

A spokeswoman from Downing Street said: "So far, three samples have been found to be combustible.

"We are in touch with all the local authorities to encourage them to urgently send us the samples and then we will carry out the checks that we need to see where we are with that."

She added: "Obviously nobody will be living in buildings that are unsafe. They will be rehoused if they need to be and landlords will be asked to provide alternative accommodation where that's possible."

Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said the results of cladding tests were "chilling" and called on the Prime Minister to "get a grip on this personally".

Ms Harman went on to say that the Grenfell Tower disaster would have been avoided if the Government had acted on the findings of an inquest into the deaths of six people in the 2009 Lakanal House fire in south London.

Nick Myall

News editor





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