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The government’s attempt to remove cladding has been ‘too slow’

The government has been criticised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) for taking far too long to remove all flammable cladding from residential buildings.

The government says it "has been working tirelessly" with councils to remove unsafe cladding. But the FBU has condemned the government's action removing cladding as "too slow and too weak". 

The union has called on the government to requisition any building that the owner will not make safe.


Responding to yesterday's investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the UK's flammable cladding scandal, Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This report confirms much of what we already know – government action removing flammable cladding has been too slow and too weak. Buildings far beyond those covered in the Building Safety Programme are at risk, while fire services do not have the investment needed to enforce new safety regulations.

“It should shame this government that they are now not expected to remove the same cladding that was on Grenfell from high-rise homes until a full two years after their own deadline and five years since the tragedy itself.

“The coronavirus pandemic is no excuse – the pace of cladding remediation has been glacial from the start. Even without the months lost, their deadline was likely little more than a PR gimmick.

“Attempts to make building owners pay for remediation have clearly failed. The government should now requisition any building that the owner will not make safe.”


Grenfell campaigners are urging the government to commit to a deadline to remove all flammable cladding.

The Justice4Grenfell group is asking people to write to their MP demanding a time limit and a detailed plan for how and when cladding will be removed.

Last year, then communities secretary James Brokenshire said he expected the removal of all unsafe cladding by this month, but thousands of homes are still covered in aluminium composite material (ACM) deemed to be dangerous.

More than 23,000 homes in the UK are still covered in "Grenfell-style cladding", according to Justice4Grenfell spokeswoman Yvette Williams. 

She commented: “At a time when people are urged to stay in their homes more, safety is paramount. 

“For the people affected there is still no clear understanding of the time-frame to have these panels removed.

“We believe the government needs to act with urgency and set clear timings for completion and take accountability for an expedient removal.” 

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  • icon

    Attempts to make building owners pay for remediation have clearly failed.

    I certainly would not want to have to pay to put right other peoples mistakes. This clearly was a mistake by our gov't so they should put it right.

  • icon

    Property owners who trusted the appropriate building standards authorities to do their jobs properly should not have to foot the bill but will probably end up doing so. To make matters worse, those incompetent officials who are to blame are still in their overpaid jobs looking forward to an undeserved final salary pension - and would have been on full salary for the last three months whilst doing little or no productive work!


    Agreed, building control officers were negligent but will anything be done about that ? of course not .

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    • 19 June 2020 20:45 PM

    Freeholders should always be legally liable for anything to do with the building.
    Leaseholders have no control over anything.

    It is scandalous that the law allows freeholders to pass on their liabilities to leaseholders.
    The law must be changed to prevent this occurring.


    And in this case the freeholder was the COUNCIL ! but no action taken there, stinks doesn't it.

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    Surely, Ultimately the blame goes to the people who signed off on the plans.That was neither the government or the builders or the current freeholders/owners.

    Now I believe the councils have planning and works departments who continually crow about their overarching worth and prowess for building quality which includes fire safety. They make us pay handsomely for managing this responsibility.


    Agreed, but building control is the local council.

  • Matthew Payne

    I would have thought at the top of any Buildng Control fact file when someone presents materials to them on a build is, "Is that flammable?"

    Freeholders and Council Building Control at fault here for the oversight and not now remedying. Got to feel for the flat owners. Flats are virtually worthless until the cladding is replaced, they cant rent them either, can't remortgage, and they will have to pay for the cladding to get any resolution. Even then the blocks will be tarnished and the flats will never realise their true market value.


    Another good reason not to buy leasehold flats


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