MP calls for an outright ban on flammable cladding on buildings

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Despite all the attention focused on fire safety since the Grenfell Tower disaster only a fraction of cladding known to be unsafe has been replaced.

That was a key message from East Falkirk and Linlithgow MP Martyn Day during this week’s Commons debate on safety issues - where he called for a total ban on flammable cladding.

He made the point that while there are no tower blocks in his constituency many people in lower-level multi-flatted accommodation are still anxious about potential risks.

He said: “It is essential that everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home, but following the tragedy at Grenfell last year, many uncertainties remain about how safe properties throughout the country actually are. “Building and fire safety are critical components of public safety, not just in residential flats but in hotels, student accommodation and even hospitals indeed anywhere someone may be staying.

“It is concerning that so far only a fraction of that cladding known to be unsafe has been replaced throughout the country, and questions still remain about which materials are safe to use.

“The issue of flammable or combustible cladding must be clarified and, in my opinion, its use should be prohibited”.

Mr Day also argued that cost issues surrounding a drive towards greater safety are an ongoing concern.

He said: “Further questions about who should pay—this is particularly an issue in privately owned blocks, where costs could be passed on to leaseholders—are alarming.

“That is not so much an issue in Scotland because the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000 and the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 effectively brought the last vestiges of leasehold to an end.

“However, the problem of owners being financially trapped in buildings affected by these issues does apply”.

He added: “I am grateful to both local authorities in my area —Falkirk and West Lothian — for reviewing the fire safety arrangements after Grenfell, and for confirming that all council properties have appropriate fire safety arrangements in place, including both annual and five-yearly fire safety assessments”.

But he noted there are issues in other parts of Scotland - such as Glasgow, where two buildings with Grenfell-style cladding has been identified.