At least 60 buildings with cladding on them have failed the government’s whole system fire test, according to the BBC – but only one local authority is believed to be affected.
Salford City Council has revealed cladding on nine tower blocks its owns have failed the latest tests. The blocks are managed by Pendleton Homes.
Appearing on the BBC’s Today programme this morning Local Government Association chair Lord Porter (Con) indicated samples from no other council buildings had failed the latest tests.
He said: “From speaking to our members the only council we know of with this combination of panels and insulation is Salford.”
Lord Porter said the remainder of the buildings belonged to housing associations and private companies. The Department for Communities & Local Government is due to provide an update today.
Thorn Court, Salford
Source: Picture taken by Mikey
Salford’s deputy mayor John Merry (Lab) said: “I cannot emphasise enough that the priority for the council is the safety of our residents.
“We had prepared in advance for the test results and Pendleton Together, which is responsible for managing the Pendleton blocks, is already undertaking works to remove and replace the cladding system. We are focusing on doing what it takes to make the buildings safe and decisive steps have been taken to progress a permanent solution.”
Until then, insulation is being protected by cement boards, said Cllr Merry.
“This is a temporary measure recommended by technical advisors,” he said. “Testing has been arranged in August to ensure that the permanent replacement meets the necessary safety standards.”
Meanwhile, Lord Porter said councils with similar cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower in Kensington were “already speaking to the government” about being reimbursed for some of the costs associated with the work to replace it.
He said this was “exceptional work” which “nobody could’ve reasonably planned” for in their business model. “It’s those costs that need to be picked up”.
Lord Porter also reinforced the LGA’s call to review building regulations as they “are not fit for purpose anymore”.
He said: “There’s no point taking down cladding that fails a test only to find out we’re putting up other cladding that won’t pass the test.”
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is considering bringing corporate manslaughter charges against Kensington & Chelsea RBC and its tenant management organisation.
Elizabeth Campbell (Con), the new leader of Kensington & Chelsea, said in a statement: “Our residents deserve answers about the Grenfell Tower fire and the police investigation will provide these. We fully support the Metropolitan Police investigation and we will cooperate in every way we can.
“It would not be appropriate to comment further on matters subject to the police investigation.”