Government bans flammable cladding in wake of Grenfell tragedy

Posted On: 
30th September 2018

Flammable cladding will be banned on high rise buildings in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Government will announce tomorrow.

The Grenfell Tower fire killed 72 people in June 2017

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire will vow to have building rules changed to prevent another “unimaginable horror” like the 2017 tragedy.

But Labour blasted the Government for moving too slowly on the issue and called for it to go further on fire safety.

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Some 72 people were killed in June last year after a fire ripped through the west London flat block, with combustible cladding on the outside sending flames rushing up the building.

The new regulation regime will apply to flat blocks over 18-metres tall, as well as care homes, schools and hospitals, and is set to come into force in late autumn.

But the ban will only apply to new buildings - as the Government has no legal powers to force change on existing structures.

“It’s been over a year since the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire,” Mr Brokenshire will tell the Conservative party conference in Birmingham tomorrow.

“This unimaginable horror has rightly shocked us all and underlined the need to do all that we can to see that such a disaster cannot happen again.

“My work with Grenfell United and the wider community has been hugely helpful in keeping this issue right at the top of the government's agenda.

“And that is why today I can confirm that I will change the building regulations to ban the use of combustible cladding for all high rise residential buildings, hospitals, care homes and student accommodation and bring about a change in culture on building safety.”

'OFF THE PACE'

But Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey told PoliticsHome: “More than 15 months on from the Grenfell Tower fire, ministers have been off the pace at every stage. Labour has long called for a ban on combustible cladding.”

He added: “Ministers must now take the further steps needed to ensure every tower block resident is safe, including funding sprinklers in all high-rise social housing.”

Ministers have already put forward £400m to switch combustible cladding on social housing blocks around the country to safer models.

A review of building regulations led by Dame Judith Hackitt in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy last year stopped short of recommending a ban on combustible cladding.

It instead argued for wider system reforms, including making fire testing and certification processes tougher.