Theresa May says inflammable coating found in many residential tower blocks in UK

Theresa May said combustible cladding has been found in 'a number' of publicly-owned tower blocks in UK following emergency checks after a devastating fire in London.

AFP June 22, 2017 15:58:09 IST
Theresa May says inflammable coating found in many residential tower blocks in UK

London: Combustible cladding has been found in "a number" of publicly-owned tower blocks in Britain following emergency checks after a devastating fire in London, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday.

"A number of these tests have come back as combustible," May said in a statement to parliament after ordering checks on all similar blocks.

Theresa May says inflammable coating found in many residential tower blocks in UK

Parts of the building still burned hours after the deadly blaze at Grenfell Tower in London. AP

"We cannot and will not ask people to live in unsafe homes," she said, adding that relevant local authorities and fire services had been informed but without specifying what action would be taken.

The cladding on the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block in London has been widely blamed for the quick spread of the flames in the 120-apartment building.

Seventy-nine people have been killed or are missing presumed dead as a result of last Wednesday's fire.

The cladding was installed for beautification and insulation despite warnings from local residents about fire safety as part of a major refurbishment of Grenfell Tower that was completed last year.

May said "no stone will be left unturned" in a judge-led inquiry she has ordered into the blaze.

"I know many others living in tall residential buildings will have concerns about their safety after what happened at Grenfell.

"All social landlords have been instructed to carry out additional fire safety checks on tower blocks and ensure the appropriate safety and response measures are in place," she said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was highly critical of the chaotic official response to the fire, for which May has apologised.

He urged the government to make funds available immediately so councils can "carry out immediate fire safety checks and install sprinklers".

"There is obviously a huge cost involved in removing and re-cladding blocks that are found to have flammable materials included in them," he said.

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