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Mayor of London demands immediate action from owners of ACM-clad buildings
08 September 2020
SADIQ KHAN, The Mayor of London, has written to more than 40 London landlords to demand that they put the safety of their residents first and begin work to remove dangerous ACM cladding immediately. In a letter to building owners who have had funding applications approved, but are yet to start remediation work, Khan urges them to “take all the necessary steps” to accelerate their plans for removing and replacing unsafe cladding.
Three years after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, Khan is said to be “deeply concerned” that thousands of Londoners are still living in unsafe buildings. The Greater London Authority administers the Government’s Social and Private Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Funds which building owners can apply to for financial assistance in carrying out work to remove and replace dangerous ACM cladding. To date, 65 buildings owned by social landlords have been allocated funding, while private sector landlords who own 60 buildings have applied to the funds.
The Mayor is fully aware that London faces a big challenge to make all residential buildings secure. In fact, London has more than twice as many private ACM blocks as the rest of the country combined.
This letter comes ahead of the Mayor attending the London Building Safety Action Summit alongside Government ministers and Borough leaders. The Mayor will call on the Government to take action, including covering the costs of ‘Waking Watch’ and other interim fire safety measures in ACM-clad buildings, clarifying what enforcement mechanisms will be available to penalise building owners who have failed to make their building safe and putting more resources into the Joint Inspection Team.
In the communication, Khan writes: “I am writing to you regarding your grant under the Social or Private Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Fund (SSCRF/PSCRF), which the Greater London Authority (GLA) is administering. You are receiving this letter because your building has not yet started works on site to remove the unsafe cladding and I am concerned about the pace of remediation.”
Remediation taking too long
He continues: “More than three years after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, I am deeply worried to see the number of buildings in London that still have unsafe ACM cladding. Given the high risk that ACM cladding presents to residents and visitors, it’s unacceptable that remediating buildings is taking so long. I have always made it clear that the safety of residents is the absolute priority. I am sure you will agree that providing residents with real certainty, clear progress and a firm date for the completion of these works is vital. I therefore urge you to take all the necessary steps to accelerate your plans to remove and replace unsafe ACM cladding and keep residents and the GLA updated.”
Further, Khan states: “I would ask that you provide your case worker in the GLA’s building safety or area teams with a written update on your remediation plans, including providing them with accurate and up-to-date milestones and accurate and up-to-date cost estimates.”
The GLA is working closely with London Boroughs, the London Fire Brigade and the Government on potential enforcement where building owners fail to progress at pace.
In conclusion, Khan observes: “Once again, I urge you to prioritise the remediation of unsafe ACM from your residential buildings and to do everything you can to guarantee the safety and well-being of residents. My team will be happy to assist with any queries you have about the funding programmes we administer.”
A total of 47 private building owners will receive the letter, along with four social landlords.
The Social Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Fund was established by the Government in May 2018, while the Private Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Fund was set up in May last year.
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