Downing Street has said that up to 600 tower blocks across the UK, which have been cladded, are to be tested to check if they are combustible in the wake of the fire at Grenfell Tower last week.
The prime minister’s office released the figures after Theresa May informed parliament that following tests on towers across the country, she was informed that a number of blocks were recognised as also having cladding that was “combustible”.
Speaking in parliament, Mrs May said: “The House should be careful on speculating on what caused this fire.
“But as a precaution the government has arranged to test cladding on all relevant tower blocks. Shortly before I came to the chamber I was informed that a number of these tests have come back as combustible.
“The relevant local authorities and local fire services have been informed, and they are taking all possible steps to ensure that the relevant buildings are safe and to inform affected residents.”
The government has launched a public inquiry into the tragic fire in west London to establish how the fire could spread so quickly. The Metropolitan Police has said that at least 79 people died in the fire.
The PM added: “We can test over 100 buildings a day, and the results come within hours.
“I urge any landlord who owns a building of this kind to send samples for testing as soon as possible. Any results will be communicated immediately to local authorities and local fire services.
“Landlords have a legal obligation to provide safe buildings and where they cannot do that we expect alternative accommodation to be provided.
“We cannot and will not ask people to live in unsafe homes.”
As CN reports today, fire experts have claimed that if the London Building Act was still in place, the fire at Grenfell would have been averted.
Speaking to CN, architect and fire expert Sam Webb, who represented families of those who died at the inquest into the 2009 Lakanal Fire in south London, said that under previous building regulations that were phased out, the 24-storey tower would not have burned down.
Mr Webb said: “Lakanal House and Grenfell were both known as Section 20 buildings, which meant that extra fire safety measures were imposed on their designs.”
Yesterday the Homes and Communities Agency agreed a deal with housebuilder Berkeley to house survivors of the Grenfell tragedy in a new scheme on Kensington High Street.
Extra workers have been drafted into the Kensington Row project and will work “around the clock” to ensure it is finished as soon as possible.
Grenfell: Government to test 600 tower blocks for cladding safety