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Grenfell Tower: Relief as tests show Islington’s remaining tower block cladding is safe

PUBLISHED: 15:42 30 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:24 04 July 2017

The cladding being removed from Braithwaite House. Picture: Terry Stacy

The cladding being removed from Braithwaite House. Picture: Terry Stacy

Archant

Tests on the remaining samples of cladding from Islington’s tower blocks show none of them contain Aluminium Composite Material (ACM).

Braithwaite House near Old Street. Picture: Polly HancockBraithwaite House near Old Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

The town hall was told this morning by the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE) that panels removed from the Brunswick and Harvist estates were safe.

ACM is the type of cladding used at Grenfell Tower and is thought to be linked to the spread of the fire there.

Housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: “This is good news, which will be a big relief to all the residents of these high-rise buildings who have been waiting to hear these results.

“Safety for residents in our estates remains our number one priority. We will continue to do everything it takes to keep our residents safe and will talk to them about any concerns they may have.

“Nothing is off the table in terms of fire safety measures we may take. We are actively looking into retrofitting sprinklers in our tower blocks and how effective they may be, and will continue with our fire safety upgrades programme.

“We will follow any directions the fire brigade provide on improving fire safety for residents.”

The council is currently removing cladding panels from Braithwaite House, the only high-rise council block in Islington confirmed to have had some ACM panels on the sides of the building.

All work to install cladding at Ilex House, Gambier House, Halliday House and Arlington House has been scrapped.

Meanwhile, councillors voted unanimously at last night’s town hall meeting to publish the results of fire risk assessments being carried out at the tower blocks.

The decision was made after a motion tabled by Green councillor Caroline Russell.

The assessments will be published for council blocks and schools but the meeting heard the council would prioritise the safety of its blocks over publishing the assessments, with practical measures the primary concern.

Caroline Russell said: “People like to complain about red tape, but red tape is what keeps us safe.

“It is expensive and can be annoying but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure standards are maintained and people are kept safe.

“It’s important that these fire safety assessments are published so that people can feel confident and safe in their own homes.”

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