Dangerous cladding must be removed, urge Greens

“The fight for justice continues. I did not want to still be hearing from thousands of anxious, trapped and desperate people living in dangerous blocks that the most basic action of removing deadly cladding has still not been completed.” Three years on from the Grenfell disaster, the Green Party has called on the government to remove dangerous cladding on residential buildings.

Justice for Grenfell banner
Justice for Grenfell banner

Photos taken at the #MayMustGo protest at Downing Street on Saturday 17th June 2017.Author: Garry Knight

Olivia Rutherford

The Green Party has called on the government to remove “deadly cladding” and address its failings after the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Yesterday (14 June) marked three years since the Grenfell Tower disaster in which 72 people died after the residential tower block in Kensington burned down, with the fire fuelled by the tower’s flammable cladding.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which released its first findings in October 2019, found that the tower’s cladding did not comply with building regulations.

Last week, Parliament’s Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee released a report on 12 June calling on the government to commit to removing all forms of dangerous cladding across 2,000 high-risk residential buildings in the UK. 

Green Party co-leader Sian Berry described the lack of “justice” for the victims of Grenfell as a “stain on this government”, while Green Party Home Affairs correspondent Shahrar Ali stated it is an “absolute priority” that combustible material be removed from residential buildings. 

Ali added: “The government continues to commit eye-watering expenditure on HS2 construction works, even during lockdown, which would be better spent on building projects that protect lives. 

“The prime minister says Black Lives Matter to him, too, yet fails to do what we know is necessary to significantly reduce the risk of another Grenfell. A repeat fire and fatalities would be doubly unforgivable."

Berry released a comment on Twitter: “This is not how I expected to be marking three years since the Grenfell Tower disaster. The memories of the 72 people who died are still raw.

“We remember them today and the fight for justice continues. I did not want to still be hearing from thousands of anxious, trapped and desperate people living in dangerous blocks. 

“That the most basic action of removing deadly cladding has still not been completed and that the corruption behind this lies unpublished, is a stain on this government. And I did not want to be still surrounded by so many other examples of institutional and systemic class prejudice and racism. Because Grenfell was caused by these failings.”

HCLG Committee Chair Clive Betts MP pressed the government to “end the scourge of dangerous cladding once and for all” as residents living in a property that may not be safe face “ongoing stress” and  “financial hardship”. 

He claims that the £1-billion Building Safety Fund will “not be enough” and should be increased to enable removal of the cladding and resolve wider fire safety concerns. 

He added:“Those who have caused, and in some cases refuse to rectify, safety issues must be made to pay. We call on the government to consider taking legal action to recover the cost of works on individual buildings. 

“Compulsory Purchase Order powers should be used to take direct ownership of buildings where owners have failed to begin remedial work by December 2020.”