Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Theresa May says 600 tower blocks have similar ‘combustible’ cladding to Grenfell Tower

rexfeatures_8869580a.jpg

Hundreds of tower blocks across the UK could be covered in cladding similar to Grenfell Tower, it has been revealed.

Downing Street says that an estimated 600 high-rise buildings in England alone are covered in similar cladding to the west London block that went up in flames last week, killing at least 79 people. As a result, thousands of lives could be in danger if a fire was to start in one of these buildings.

Combustible cladding has been definitively identified on at least three other tower blocks across the UK, the Guardian reports.

Flammable panelling on the outside of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington is thought to have helped spread the fire across the building’s exterior, trapping dozens of people inside in the early hours of 14 June.

A Number 10 spokeswoman confirmed that the potentially dangerous cladding had been found on three buildings. She added that local councils’ estimates suggested that the actual number of at-risk blocks was much higher.

“In terms of how many buildings and how many homes have this type of cladding, the estimate provided to us by councils is that there are approximately 600 high-rise buildings with similar cladding,” she said.

theresa

Theresa May confirmed on Wednesday 22 June that hundreds of tower blocks may be covered in similar cladding to Grenfell Tower.

The spokeswoman said that the government was in touch with local authorities to “encourage them” to send samples of panelling from high-rise buildings in their area, to enable them to “carry out the checks that we need”.

If blocks were found to be covered in combustible cladding, she said that the government will carry out one “further test to make sure the building is resafe”. If these tests determined that a building was at risk of a fatal fire, residents could be rehomed.


Read more: Wealthy homeowners say that Grenfell Tower survivors being re-homed in 'luxury' flats is 'unfair'


“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,” said the spokeswoman.

However, London mayor Sadiq Khan said that residents in all tower blocks with flammable cladding should be rehoused immediately, unless the government could reassure them that their homes were safe.

“The government needs to ensure all resources necessary are made available to local authorities for the testing process, for checking those tower blocks and for rehousing people in their local community,” he said in a statement.

The London borough of Camden said that it will immediately remove cladding from five tower blocks, because it is similar to that which burned on Grenfell Tower.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday morning, Theresa May said that none of the survivors of the Grenfell fire will be forced to move somewhere they don’t want to go.


Read more: “It’s hard to describe the atmosphere”: Volunteer at Grenfell Tower fire rescue on how to help


There had been allegations that survivors would be forced out of the area. Labour MP David Lammy, whose friend Khadija Saye died in the fire, said that he received an email from a local councillor claiming that survivors were being offered homes as far away as Preston in Lancashire.

The councillor said that former Grenfell tenants who refused were being put at the bottom of the housing list because “they are making themselves voluntarily homeless”.

However, the Prime Minister said that any MPs who learned of this kind of thing happening should contact No 10 immediately. She added: “For any guilty parties, there will be nowhere to hide.”

fire

"Where is your compassion?" A protester at a march to keep public attention on the Grenfell fire tragedy on 21 June.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the tragedy followed a pattern of marginalised communities being disregarded by authorities.

“From Hillsborough, to the child sex abuse scandal, to Grenfell Tower – the pattern is consistent: working-class people’s voices are ignored, their concerns dismissed by those in power,” he said.

“The Grenfell Tower residents and North Kensington community deserve answers and thousands and thousands of people living in tower blocks around the country need very urgent reassurance.”

Images: Rex Features

Related

adele visit firefighters grenfell.jpg

Adele surprises Grenfell firefighters with cake and cuddles

corbyn may general election minority.jpg

Theresa May plummets in favourability polls

lily-allen-grenfell-tower-fire-comments-newsnight-jon-snow-channel-4-interview.JPG

Lily Allen accuses media of downplaying Grenfell Tower death toll

Comments

More

“How Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington gave my generation a voice"

The musician leaves a lasting legacy

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Jul 2017

The grossly sexist ads we can’t believe exist in the 21st century

From a Co-op egg to that deeply offensive Protein World poster

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

How your Love Island obsession is wreaking havoc with your health

Experts have genuinely issued a warning…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

Boots won’t cut morning-after pill price because we can’t be trusted

Cheaper emergency contraception? Unprotected sex party at ours, everyone!

by Amy Swales
21 Jul 2017

Did Japan’s First Lady pretend not to speak English to ignore Trump?

Akie Abe, we salute you.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Jul 2017

This 'Beer For Her' has managed to offend everyone on Twitter

Apparently womankind can only ever drink from pink receptacles

by Megan Murray
21 Jul 2017

This Instagram account is aiming to break the miscarriage taboo

Women are coming together to share their stories of loss

by Megan Murray
21 Jul 2017

Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who salary revealed after gender pay gap row

And it may surprise you…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

Quiz: which famous duo are you and your work wife?

It’s time to find out, once and for all, who you and your work wife really are…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jul 2017

You’ve been making your tea wrong this whole time, reveal tea experts

Wait, what?

by Jasmine Andersson
20 Jul 2017