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Updated: Up to 600 tower blocks have Grenfell Tower-style cladding

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Local authorities estimated up to 600 tower blocks may have the same cladding as Grenfell Tower.

Following a request from government for local authorities to carry out inspections on their high-rise buildings on Sunday, councils have estimated up to 600 blocks might have the same cladding which was fitted to Grenfell Tower in Kensington.

However, on Thursday it was clarified that there are actaully 600 tower blocks that are covered in cladding of any kind. 

Samples where aluminium composite material of the type used in Grenfell are being tested, with up to 100 tests being carried out each day. 

This comes as Camden LBC has already started removing cladding from five towers on its Chalcots Estate after laboratory tests found it was made of similar materials to the ones on Grenfell Tower.

Leader Georgia Gould (Lab) said the panels, made up of aluminium panels with a polyethylene core, were not fitted “to the standard that we had commissioned”.

“In light of this, we will be informing the contractor that we will be taking urgent legal advice,” she said. “Whilst we are clear that our cladding design and insulation significantly differs to that at Grenfell Tower, the external cladding panels did not satisfy our independent laboratory testing or the high standards we set for contractors. Camden Council has decided it will immediately begin preparing to remove these external cladding panels from the five tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate.”

Cllr Gould said the arrangement of the cladding and insulation on Camden’s buildings “significantly differs from that on Grenfell Tower” though and that this “arrangement previously contained a fire at a flat in Taplow block in 2012”.

The borough is now undertaking a number of fire safety measures, including 24/7 patrols of the estate’s corridors, testing resident’s appliances, and setting up an information point staffed by members of the council’s housing team on the estate.

“We stand ready to fully support any national investigation into materials, building standards and safety regulations,” said Cllr Gould. “It’s vital for all of London’s residents who live in high-rise buildings, that we learn from investigations into what caused and exacerbated the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan (Lab) said the estimate “confirms people’s worst fears”.

“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.”

He added the government “needs to ensure all resources necessary are made available to local authorities” carrying out tests and checks.

*This story was updated on 23 June to reflect clarifcation from the government. 

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