Minister says at least eight local authorities have found flammable cladding on their towers

Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid has revealed in a letter to MPs that more than 10 buildings across eight local authority areas in England have been found to have flammable cladding.

Portsmouth City Council announced that cladding at two tower blocks was being removed as a precaution after tests revealed a fire risk.

Other local authorities found to have used combustible cladding include Camden, Plymouth, and Manchester. But more could follow, with hundreds of buildings across the country being assessed.

Islington Council in London has advised that it is arranging to have cladding on a tower block called Braithwaite House, removed “as soon as possible” by a specialist contractor.

“We’re also stepping up safety measures in the block immediately, with fire safety patrols taking place day and night from today until the panels are removed,” the council said.

Residents are being informed immediately, it added.

In Hounslow, council leader Steve Curran said that while elements of the material of cladding on a tower, Clements Court, differed from that on the Grenfell block, “we decided that we will take steps to remove the outer cladding from the building as soon as is practical. We are currently looking into how best and swiftly this can be done.”

On the south coast, Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: “The safety of our residents is an absolute priority. Like all councils, we have been working with the government and fire service to review our buildings.

“As a precaution we submitted some cladding for testing and the results that came back said the cladding on Horatia House and Leamington House was a risk. As a result we are removing the cladding from those buildings. Protection of Portsmouth’s residents is our number one priority and we will not comprise on safety standards.

Elsewhere in the UK, Scotland has given itself a clean bill of health regarding controversial cladding but a Belfast tower block, Durham House, has been added to the growing number of high rise buildings found with similar cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower, with tests being conducted to see if it is at risk.

In a statement, Radius Housing, which owns the block, said: “Cladding panels from Durham House have been sent for precautionary tests to BRE Group and Ulster University. The purpose of these tests is to determine the type of material used in the cladding and whether it is flammable. If the panels pose a potential risk then we will act accordingly.

“We have liaised with residents at Durham House and will work to ensure they continue to feel safe and comfortable in their homes. There will now be an additional twenty-four hour presence on site to provide safety monitoring.

“The building is compliant with current fire regulations and is subject to regular fire risk assessments.”

Police in London have said that the Grenfell fire started in a fridge freezer and outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests.