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Government to consider banning flammable cladding in wake of Grenfell fire

Government to consider banning flammable cladding in wake of Grenfell fire

The Royal Institute of British Architects has campaigned for a ban on combustible cladding and says above all its members need clarity.

"The government will consult on banning the use of combustible materials and cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings", minister James Brokenshire told parliament.

Dame Judith Hackitt's report was labelled a "whitewash" and a "total betrayal" by campaigners and MPs when it emerged outlawing flammable cladding, blamed by many for the spread of the fire, was not among her more than 50 recommendations.

This is particularly important for Wandsworth, as we have two tower blocks - Sudbury House and Castlemaine - where essential cladding removal works are already well under way.

In a brief statement ahead of the report's publication the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: The report is forward looking and focused on establishing a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future, in this way providing assurance to residents that the buildings they live in are safe and remain so.

Report author Dame Judith Hackitt said indifference and ignorance had led to cost being prioritised over safety.

"There's something seriously wrong with the regulatory system", she said during an interview on BBC Radio 4.

The issue has far-reaching implications not only for the construction industry but also for social housing landlords and private landlords, as dozens of other high-rise buildings have been found to have cladding that could pose a fire safety risk.

Shahin Sadafi, chairman of Grenfell United, which represents survivors and the bereaved, said they were "disappointed and saddened that she (Dame Judith) she didn't listen to us and she didn't listen to other experts".

"I simply fail to see how it is deemed appropriate for any combustible material to be used on any tower block in this country".

And Lord Porter, Local Government Association chairman, said it was "disappointing" that the review stopped short of recommending a ban on combustible materials. "Ban flammable cladding", she said.

Dame Judith's refusal to call for a ban on combustible cladding and the desktop studies that are used to authorise cladding systems that have not been fire tested is being criticised.

The causes of the Grenfell Tower fire are the subject of an inquiry which is due to start public hearings next week.

But the government said Dame Judith was "an independent and authoritative voice".