149 high rises have failed safety tests post-Grenfell, government confirms

Fire-damaged cladding on the lower floors of Grenfell Tower (Rex)
Fire-damaged cladding on the lower floors of Grenfell Tower (Rex)

149 UK tower blocks have now failed fire safety tests, a government spokeswoman has confirmed.

Speaking on behalf of Theresa May, the spokeswoman said: “So far the cladding from 149 high rise buildings in 45 local authority areas have failed the tests. That continues to be a 100 percent test failure rate.”

The tests were carried out in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, in which at least 80 people died.

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Combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding added to the outside of Grenfell Tower has long been seen as a likely factor in the rapid spread of the June 14 fire.

The government spokeswoman also responded to reports that the public and media were excluded from a council meeting to discuss the fire. She said: “Our view is that access to democracy should always be easy.

“There are rules that state that all meetings must be open to the public except in certain circumstances … and we would have expected the council to respect that.”

Cladding from 149 high rises has now failed safety tests (Rex)
Cladding from 149 high rises has now failed safety tests (Rex)

Not everyone is happy to hear that the safety checks are to continue however, with around 450 more social housing blocks set for inspection.

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said the government should now focus its resources elsewhere, saying: “These tests were the right thing to do, but the results are now conclusive: ACM cladding simply does not pass these tests and is deemed unsafe.

“Across the country, valuable resources – from specialist equipment to expert time – are being poured into a testing process of which the results are already known.”

The rigour of the testing has also been criticised, with Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, accusing the government of not having done the retest “properly”.

The Tory peer said: “They are not testing the whole system. We should be testing the insulation. There is more than a good chance that the insulation is probably the main problem.”