NEWS
10/02/2019 08:16 GMT | Updated 11/02/2019 09:06 GMT

Grenfell-Style Cladding Still Fitted To 361 High-Rise Buildings, Official Figures Reveal

Ministers have been accused “sitting on their hands” amid concern private building owners are refusing to act.

Some 361 high-rise buildings in England are still covered in dangerous Grenfell Tower-style cladding more than 18 months after the disaster, official figures show.

The latest data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government reveals that only 73 of 437 blocks wrapped in flammable aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding have been stripped of the material.

Since the last monthly update, removal work on just six buildings above 18 metres has been completed.

The Labour Party accused government ministers of continuing to “sit on their hands” amid concern private building owners are refusing to take action.

The ministry admits the response from the private sector has been too slow but insists interim measures mean “people can sleep safely in their beds”.

According to the new figures, 233 of the buildings still wrapped in ACM are privately-owned – and remediation plans remain “unclear” for 50 of those buildings.

In November, the government gave councils the green light to strip ACM cladding from private residential buildings as it issued a ban on using combustible cladding on new high-rise homes, as well as schools, care homes and student accommodation.

 

PA Archive/PA Images

 

Underling the deadlock being faced in some buildings, leaseholders at Citiscape, two connected buildings holding 95 flats in Croydon, south London, successfully fought a legal battle last year to get the building’s developers to pay a £2m bill to replace cladding.

Sarah Jones, Labour’s shadow minster for housing, said: “Progress continues to stall on Grenfell cladding as ministers sit on their hands.

“Almost 20 months after Grenfell, hundreds of blocks are still wrapped in deadly ACM cladding.

“Even worse, 50 private block owners continue to refuse to even put plans in place.

“The prime minister told me last month that she was ruling nothing out. When will her government grow a backbone and take real action to make these blocks safe?”

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “There is nothing more important than making sure people are safe in their homes. All buildings have interim safety measures in place, so people can sleep safely in their beds.

“Further progress has been made in remediation, but more needs to be done. In the social sector, we are fully funding the replacement of ACM cladding with up to £400m and this is happening now.

“I have repeatedly made clear that building owners and developers must replace dangerous cladding quickly. And the costs must not be passed on to leaseholders. My message is clear and I stand by my word – private building owners must pay for this work now or they will pay more later.”