Ban on cladding used at Grenfell being discussed
Campaigners react with fury to report
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