POLITICS

Schools And Hospitals Worried About Safety In Wake Of Grenfell Fire Urged To Carry Out Checks

Public inquiry will also examine why dangerous material was used on buildings across the country.

26/06/2017 12:30
Reuters/PA Images

Schools and hospitals worried about fire risk in the wake of the Grenfell disaster are being urged to make use of the Government’s building material testing facility.

A Number 10 spokesman today said the Department for Communities and Local Government, which is co-ordinating checks on potentially flammable materials on buildings across the country, has the capacity to test 100 samples every day.

Sixty high-rise buildings in 25 local authority areas have so far failed fire cladding safety checks and 800 homes in Camden were evacuated on Friday due to fears over another potentially fatal blaze. 

Councils and landlords who have not yet sent material samples  for testing were asked to do so “immediately” on Monday, with the Government pledging to provide results within hours.

“Any local authorities or public bodies who have concerns should carry out checks and we will test the material for them,” the spokesman said. 

“But we can only carry out tests as quick as we get the material in.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Potentially dangerous cladding is removed from an estate in Manchester.

The public inquiry into the Grenfell incident, in which at least 79 people are believed to have died, will also examine how so much potentially flammable material came to be used on buildings across the country.  

The DCLG said Doncaster, Norwich, Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland all had buildings that failed tests, while Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth have already been named.

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard said 24-hour fire safety patrols had been set up in the affected buildings in his ward, while Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said she would knock on doors herself to persuade people still occupying 120 households in the evacuated Chalcots Estate in north London to leave their homes for their own safety. 

Islington, Lambeth and Wandsworth joined Barnet, Brent, Camden and Hounslow are on the growing list of London boroughs with buildings that are potentially dangerous, while 11 other areas are yet to be named.

Downing Street said last week the 600 tower blocks in England encased in cladding were not necessarily the same type of material as was installed on Grenfell Tower. Hundreds of inspections are still to take place in the aftermath of the fire.

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