Tuesday 20 February 2018

75 tower blocks in England fail safety tests as number continues to rise

Number of affected buildings is up from 60 at the last count

Stock image PA
Stock image PA

Rachael Revesz

A total of 75 high rise buildings in England have failed fire safety tests so far following the Grenfell Tower blaze, according to the UK government.

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced the new number, which has been revised upwards from 60, in the British Parliament.

He also said he had asked all councils and housing authorities in England to inspect tall, residential buildings which potentially have similar cladding to that of Grenfell Tower.

He said there were around 600 such buildings in the country.

"I know the entire country is anxious to hear what we are doing to reassure residents about fire safety in similar blocks around the country," he said.

The programme to test the cladding, a composite of aluminium and which was thought to have helped the Grenfell Tower fire spread quickly, started on 21 June.

The 75 affected buildings are spread across 26 local authority areas.

"I know members [of parliament] will rightly want to know if their residents are affected, and my department will publish regular updates on gov.uk."

The combustibility test has three categories and if the building lands in category two or three, it means the cladding does not have limited combustibility.

On Friday evening, around 4,000 people were evacuated from high rise buildings in Camden with similar cladding.

The cladding and insulation material failed fire safety tests after the disaster.

Mr Javid said he was "concerned at the speed" of which landlords were submitting samples of their cladding to be tested, and asked them to do so immediately.

"I'm determined that residents have as much peace of mind as possible in these worrying times," he said. "Landlords must keep residential buildings safe for their tenants."

The blaze at Grenfell Tower spread within half an hour and killed at least 79 people, and Mr Javid said the death toll was expected to increase.

Officials said some victims would never be identified due to the intensity of the fire.

The latest victim to be named was 52-year-old Mary Mendy. Her sister, Betty Jackson, said in a statement that Mendy was "a wonderful sister, an incredible aunt, the best mother any child could have wished for".

Independent News Service

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