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Cladding funding a ‘step in the right direction’

05 June 2019

THE NATIONAL Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has welcomed the government’s announcement it will fund the removal and replacement of dangerous cladding – stating it is a step in the right direction.

The £200 million government funding will be available to remove unsafe ACM cladding from around 170 privately owned high-rise buildings. NFCC says it is pleased to see this announcement - which will go some way to help people feel safer in their homes - a right which should be available to all.

NFCC chair Roy Wilsher, commented: “I am pleased funding is now available to remove dangerous cladding on privately owned high-rise buildings. However, I would have liked to have seen this happen sooner; it was raised as part of the Ministerial task force. It is however disappointing to see that a number of building owners have not taken steps to rectify this, as we now approach the two-year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

 “The impact of living with this cladding has had a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life. Residents have had to live in buildings knowing they are wrapped in dangerous cladding, while some owners have tried to pass the costs on to leaseholders, rather than taking responsibility.

 “I would also like to see other buildings with cladding considered, as this fund is currently only for high-rise buildings over 18-metres in height. We should also be considering other buildings, including those which house vulnerable people.”

 NFCC has called for the remove of cladding since the Grenfell Tower fire and has always stated that the ACM cladding similar to that on the tower block – or combustible cladding – did not comply with building regulations.

The government has said this work will take place ‘urgently’ and will take place at high-rise where building owners have failed to act. According to the announcement, latest figures show that 166 private buildings are yet to start works on removing and replacing ACM cladding, which compares to 23 in the social sector. Building owners now have three months to access the funding. The government has said it will consider further action if owners do not remove cladding.

But Labour has slammed the government for taking so long to respond to concerns raised by the Grenfell Tower fire. Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey MP responding to the announcement on funding for the replacement of flammable cladding on private high-rise blocks, said: “It is welcome that the Government is finally giving some help to worried residents in private blocks with Grenfell-style cladding, but it is astonishing that it has taken Ministers almost two years to act.

“The Government must now back the further steps Labour has been calling for, toughen the sanctions to get this work done and set a deadline to make all blocks safe.”