Cladding in Camden to be removed

Camden Council has announced that it will remove cladding from five of its blocks, after reviewing fire safety on its buildings after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Prime Minister Theresa May had warned that ‘a number’ of buildings around the country may be clad in combustible materials, leading to at least 25 local authorities reporting aluminium composite cladding on their structures.

Georgia Gould, Camden Council leader, said the outer cladding panels on five blocks in the borough were made up of aluminium panels with a polyethylene core, similar to that which is believed to have helped the fire at Grenfell Tower to spread across the building.

The council fitted the cladding in 2006 as part of a £150 million PFI deal with the same contractors that were used on Grenfell Tower - Rydon and Harley Facades. The council has issued a statement saying that it will be ‘informing the contractor that we will be taking urgent legal advice’.

Gould said: “The panels that were fitted were not to the standard that we had commissioned. In light of this, we will be informing the contractor that we will be taking urgent legal advice. Camden council has decided it will immediately begin preparing to remove these external cladding panels from the five tower blocks on the Chalcots estate. Camden council will do whatever it takes to ensure our residents are reassured about the safety of their homes.”

Tests have being carried out on approximately 600 high rises across England, with eleven residential high-rise buildings found to be covered in combustible cladding.

Cladding is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of fire at Grenfell Tower, in which at least 79 people are believed to have died. The BBC has also reported that Premier Inn is ‘extremely concerned’ about cladding on three of its hotels, in Maidenhead, Brentford and Tottenham.

Meanwhile, police have said that the Grenfell Tower fire in London started in a fridge freezer, but the outside cladding and the building’s insulation failed safety tests.

The Metropolitan Police will consider manslaughter charges.