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Kensington And Chelsea Council Bans Grenfell Cladding Firms From Work On Local Projects

Several firms involved in the inquiry have been banned from public works (PA)

3 min read

Several companies appearing at the Grenfell inquiry have been blocked from working on projects in the borough following anger from residents.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) council said they had made the decision "based on doubts about the integrity" of several companies who have been providing evidence to the inquiry into the tower fire which killed 72 people.

The decision specifically names cladding manufacturers, Kingspan, Arconic and Celotex as well as Grenfell contractor Rydon Maintenance, saying they will no longer be contracted to carry out any work in the area.

It also bans contractors from using any of the firms as subcontractors on projects, with a review of the decision not set to take place until after the inquiry has concluded.

The decision came following fury from local residents last month after it was revealed that one of the companies connected with the Grenfell inquiry was providing products for use in council projects.

Residents had staged a protest outside the building site for Kensington Queensmill special school after packaging for Kingspan's products were seen at the project.

The group had demanded RBKC council investigate why the companies were still being offered public funding for local projects and remove them from any further work being carried out in the borough.

Speaking on Monday, Councillor Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader of the council and lead member for housing, said the decision to block the firms had been made following "significant concerns from all corners of our communities".

"This decision is based on doubts about the integrity of those companies, expressed by our communities and shared by the Council, and following evidence given at the Inquiry in respect of them," he said.

"The Council is also undertaking an ongoing audit to ensure that all projects underway or nearing completion are safe, making changes where necessary on a case by case basis."

He added: "It is important to remember that in many cases, the safety of the products may not be in dispute according to regulations and current national testing regimes. 

"However, some of the evidence submitted to the Inquiry has brought into question the reliability of the safety certificates and the evidence on which they were based. 

"In addition, the trust of the people who live in our borough in these companies and their products has been significantly damaged."

The crackdown comes just weeks after a fire broke out at the New Providence Wharf development near Canary Wharf, which is partially covered with the same cladding.

Two adults were taken to hospital following the blaze, the cause of which is still being investigated.

But the incident has triggered calls for the government to act faster to remove dangerous cladding from buildings, with surivors' and relatives' group Grenfell United urging ministers to stop "stonewalling" concerned residents.

 "When will the government take this scandal seriously? Enough is enough," they said.

"The government needs to treat this as an emergency and stop stonewalling residents who are raising concerns. No more games, no more excuses."

A spokesperson for Arconic said: "We continue to offer our full support to the authorities as the Inquiry works through the complex questions presented. 

"It is not appropriate for us to comment further while the Inquiry is ongoing."

Kingspan, Rydon, and Celotex have been approached for comment.

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