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Specific cladding used on Grenfell Tower banned on all new buildings in England five years after the tragedy

THE exclusion of existing buildings from a new Tory ban on the type of cladding used on Grenfell is “disgraceful,” campaigners charged today.

Justice4Grenfell told the Morning Star that thousands of residents trapped in unsafe housing would still be “living in fear” as the guidance — announced yesterday — applies only to new builds.

Nearly five years on from the blaze in the west London tower block, metal composite material panels with unmodified polyethylene core are now banned on all new buildings of any height in England.

The combustible cladding was used on the outside of Grenfell Tower, which caught fire on June 14 2017, claiming the lives of 72 people.

A previous ban only applied to buildings higher than 11 metres.

The government also announced that it will restrict the types of cladding material used on buildings between 11m and 18m in height, to prevent their construction with combustible materials.

Housing Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “We have introduced the biggest improvements to building safety in a generation, under the Building Safety Act.

“These changes will support our tough new regulatory regime — ensuring fire safety measures are incorporated into new high-rise homes and all new residential buildings meet the same safety standards.

“It does not end here and I urge the industry act quickly to update their practices in line with these new rules.”

But Justice4Grenfell’s Yvette Williams said the announcement would be of little comfort to those already living in dangerous buildings.

She told the Star: “It’s taken five years, but we have to show some small grain of gratitude that buildings going up in future will be safe.

“[However], everybody is entitled to a safe home. This is not a retrospective piece of legislation.

“We’ve still got thousands of people living in buildings covered in combustible cladding and nothing has changed for them.

“They’re still leaving in fear.”

Under the measures announced by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, all new residential buildings over 11 metres will also have to include a secure information box that will give fire services access to important details about a building in the event of a fire.

Additionally, new residential developments over 18m will be required to incorporate an evacuation alert system to help firefighters inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy mid-incident.

Industrial reporter @TrinderMatt

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