- Victoria Jones / PA Wire / PA Images
- Up to 600 high rise buildings in England could have similar flammable cladding to Grenfell tower. Figure is based on samples taken since the fire last week and communication with councils. Final estimate could rise once all samples have been collected by government. Residents in affected buildings have yet to be informed.
LONDON – Hundreds of high-rise buildings in England could have similar “combustible” cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower, which is believed to have led to the deaths of at least 79 people.
The prime minister’s spokesperson initially said this morning that the government believed that an estimated 600 social housing buildings above 18 metres high, have similar cladding to Grenfell.
“The estimate provided to us by councils is that there are approximately 600 high rise buildings with similar cladding,” they said in a briefing attended by Business Insider.
“So we are obviously in touch with local councils to urge them to send us the samples and we will carry out further checks.”
However, Downing Street later clarified that the 600 figure was simply the total of all high-rise local authority residential housing blocks with any type of cladding.
In a later briefing, a spokesperson for the prime minister said they had so far identified seven high rises which had cladding which had failed fire safety tests.
The spokesperson warned that this figure of buildings affected could rise as more samples come in. Residents in affected buildings are being contacted “as a matter of urgency.”
Downing Street say it is “too early to say” how many people are likely to be living in unsafe towers.
The PM’s spokesperson said it would be “irresponsible” to name which buildings are affected until all residents have been informed.
Residents “will be rehoused if necessary,” they said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the news “confirms people’s worst fears.”
“The news this morning confirms people’s worst fears that there is a real risk that other tower blocks across Britain are at risk from combusitble cladding.
“There is now a huge amount of work to urgently do to ensure that it is safe for people to remain in properties affected. If not, the government must support people being rehoused immediately while cladding is being removed.”
This follows Prime Minister Theresa May telling MPs that “the government has arranged to test cladding in all relevant tower blocks,” and that she had just been “informed that a number of these tests have come back as combustible.”
The Department for Communities and Local Government wrote to all councils at the weekend asking for samples from buildings that had recently had cladding put in, and 600 “is our best estimate at the moment.”
It is thought that the cladding was responsible for the fire spreading so quickly at Grenfell Tower, and May told the House of Commons that the fire service will publish the results of their tests on the cladding in the next 48 hours.
The prime minister said that “we can test over 100 buildings a day,” and that “all possible steps” to make the buildings safe will be carried out.