POLITICS

Sajid Javid Says Government Will Consider Knocking Down Tower Blocks At Risk Of Grenfell-Type Disaster

'This cannot ever happen again'.

16/06/2017 09:22 BST | Updated 16/06/2017 10:39 BST
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The government will consider knocking down other tower blocks at risk of a Grenfell-style disaster, Sajid Javid has said.

The Communities and Local Government Secretary told the BBC work is underway to examine the 4,000 similar high-rises across the country.

He said ‘all necessary action’ will be taken to keep people safe in the wake of the west London incident, including examining cladding used on such buildings. Experts previously warned ministers about the type of cladding used at Grenfell and its fire risk.

When asked if he would consider sanctioning the demolition of potentially dangerous blocks of flats, Javid said: “I think there is no place that we can’t go now in order to make properties safe.  

“Once we learn from the investigator’s report, once we have that, we need to act immediately.

“As I’ve said, we need to do whatever it it takes to either make those properties safe or find alternative accommodation.  We cannot allow this to ever happen again.”

PA Wire/PA Images

He promised the government would take swift action as soon as early reports into the cause of the fatal were returned - ‘I am not talking about months’.

“What is going to be very important is what the fire investigators tell us,” he added.

“If they tell us the cladding is the problem, that is exactly what we need to deal with and we will deal with it immediately.

“There will be no bars to that - but we have to be led by the expert opinion on this.”

The cladding used at Grenfell is currently banned in the US on buildings higher than 40 feet.  According to reports it would have cost just £5,000 more to use a less flammable material on the block, which was refurbished last year.

Javid said: “Of course something has gone wrong.  In the 21st century, how could we possibly have had a fire like this, with as much loss of life?  It is unacceptable.

“Whatever happens next in terms of fire safety advice, the public inquiry, looking at decisions whether they be made by government, by local authorities, by management associations, all of that work needs to happen, it needs to start now, and something needs to change.”