Cladding to be removed from 12 London tower blocks

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Lauren Hurley

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Cladding from about 600 tower blocks in England has been removed as part of a national safety operation

Thermal cladding is to be removed from 12 London tower blocks as a precaution following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Tests are being carried out on about 600 high rises in England and more than 800 homes in tower blocks on an estate in Camden are being evacuated.

Six London councils planned the removal after it emerged their cladding was similar to that used on Grenfell Tower.

Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) in the cladding is thought to have been a factor in the fire’s rapid spread.

A total of 79 people are either dead or missing presumed dead as a result of the Kensington blaze.

In total Barnet, Brent, Camden, Hounslow, Islington and Tower Hamlets Councils have agreed to remove cladding from their tower blocks.

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External cladding is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of fire at Grenfell Tower

The presence of ACM has also been confirmed in tower blocks in Tottenham and Newham.

At the weekend it emerged ACM cladding should not be used on buildings above a height of 18m (59ft).

Cladding is typically fitted to the outside of high-rise buildings to improve insulation and tidy up the appearance of the exterior.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said 14 residential high-rise buildings in nine local authority areas had since been found to have cladding that raised safety concerns.

Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, said removing the cladding from three tower blocks in the area was a “precautionary measure”.

“Although the exterior cladding panels are similar to those reportedly used at Grenfell Tower, the insulation materials behind the exterior panels are different and made from a non-combustible mineral fibre material,” he said.

Hounslow Council said its cladding contained “rockwool”, which is a “non-combustible product, unlike the case of the Grenfell Tower”.

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The five tower blocks of the Chalcots Estate are fitted with the same external thermal cladding as Grenfell Tower

External thermal cladding will be removed from five tower blocks on Chalcots Estate.

Eloisa, whose grandmother lives in one of the tower blocks, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that residents were “pretty scared”.

She said: “There is only one fire exit and only one stairwell, which is a problem that was in Grenfell. So if the same thing happens here we’re pretty much screwed.”

Last week, several residents of the estate told BBC London they were concerned about the cladding on the side of their buildings.

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