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Number of private towers with flammable cladding doubles

The government is to accelerate the removal of cladding from private sector high-rise buildings after the number found to have flammable cladding more than doubled.

Government figures found that 297 private sector high-rise buildings in the UK had been found to feature the more combustible ACM type of cladding as of 14 June, up from 138 buildings a month earlier.

The latest figures also revealed that work to remove cladding had commenced on 21 of these blocks, with the cladding completely removed from only four buildings.

In response to the findings, housing minister James Brokenshire has put in place measures to accelerate action by building owners to remove unsafe cladding.

These include a new taskforce of ministers, fire chiefs and local authorities to oversee a national programme of remediation, which aims to ensure plans are in place for every single building with unsafe cladding.

Letters will also be sent to every private owner to remind them of their responsibility to ensure their buildings are safe.

Of the 297 private sector high-rise buildings found to have ACM cladding, 76 per cent have not yet informed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government of plans to remove cladding.

The government also pledged to carry out a roundtable next month looking at the best way to ensure the costs of removing unsafe cladding are not passed on to residents. 

The move comes after residents in several private high-rise buildings have faced paying for work to remove combustible cladding.

Following a property tribunal, in March leaseholders of the Citiscape Tower in Croydon faced a bill of £31,000 each to cover the cost of removing cladding.

Barratt, the building’s original developer, eventually decided to foot the £2m bill.

CN revealed earlier this month that Mace’s £225m Greenwich Square project also required remediation work after combustible cladding was found.

The company has confirmed it is currently looking at the best way to carry out remedial work on two of the blocks, but it has not yet been confirmed who will pay for the work.

Mr Brokenshire said: “I want to see swifter progress in removing unsafe cladding, which is why I have announced further action to support councils as they work with owners of high-rise blocks.

“I have been clear that leaseholders should be protected from unfair costs and we expect the industry to do the right thing. If they don’t, I will continue to explore other routes and I am not ruling anything out.”

According to the latest figures from the government, a total of 470 high-rise buildings across the UK have now been found to have unsafe ACM cladding systems.

In total, 159 social sector residential buildings have been found to have ACM cladding, while 14 publicly owned buildings such as schools and hospitals have also been found to have the cladding.

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