Ban on cladding used at Gren­fell be­ing dis­cussed

Cam­paign­ers re­act with fury to re­port

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS - BY SAM LIS­TER

Min­is­ters have an­nounced they are con­sid­er­ing a ban on flammable cladding for high-rise build­ings just hours af­ter a fu­ri­ous back­lash over a re­view into the Gren­fell Tower in­ferno.

Con­sul­ta­tions will be launched into out­law­ing the ma­te­rial and the desk­top stud­ies used to as­sess it, Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary James Bro­ken­shire an­nounced.

It fol­lows a wave of criticism af­ter Dame Ju­dith Hackitt re­leased her re­port for re­form of build­ing reg­u­la­tions in the wake of the June 14 dis­as­ter that left 71 dead.

Cam­paign­ers branded it a “white­wash” af­ter it failed to rec­om­mend ei­ther of the mea­sures.

Speak­ing in the House of Com­mons hours af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of the re­view, Mr Bro­ken­shire said new laws would be in­tro­duced.

He added: “We are con­sult­ing on sig­nif­i­cantly re­strict­ing or ban­ning the use of desk-top stud­ies to as­sess cladding sys­tems.”

He added: “Hav­ing lis­tened care­fully to con­cerns, the govern­ment will con­sult on ban­ning the use of com­bustible ma­te­ri­als in cladding sys­tems on high-rise res­i­den­tial build­ings.”

Shadow hous­ing sec­re­tary John Healey said it “beg­gars be­lief ” that the re­port “con­tin­ues to give a green light” to com­bustible ma­te­ri­als on high-rise blocks.

Dame Ju­dith found that in­dif­fer­ence and ig­no­rance had led to a “race to the bot­tom” in build­ing safety prac­tices and set out a se­ries of pro­pos­als to make high-rise flats safer to live in.

Gren­fell United, the Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion and the Equal­ity and Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion were among those who de­scribed the re­port as “dis­ap­point­ing”. Dame Ju­dith said a ban would “not ad­dress the root causes” of the “bro­ken sys­tem” of build­ing reg­u­la­tions.

But, re­spond­ing to criticism of her re­port, she said she was open to see­ing com­bustible cladding banned in the fu­ture.

She added: “If, in or­der to give them more im­me­di­ate re­as­sur­ance that is one is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed to go even fur­ther, so be it, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we need a more ro­bust reg­u­la­tory sys­tem so that build­ings are built safe.

“The next prob­lem may not be cladding and I have tried to fix the sys­tem, ir­re­spec­tive of what the next prob­lem might be, not just the prob­lem with cladding.”

Dame Ju­dith, who told re­porters she was “not an ex­pert on Gren­fell”, called for tougher penal­ties for those who breach reg­u­la­tions, ar­gu­ing that the cladding on the tower would not have got through her pro­posed sys­tem.

“I have tried to fix the sys­tem, ir­re­spec­tive of next prob­lem”

TRAGEDY: Sev­enty-one peo­ple died when the Gren­fell Tower in Lon­don went up in flames on June 14 last year

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