FEARS of another Grenfell-style disaster were sparked as ministers revealed cladding found on 1,700 buildings has failed safety tests.
Hospitals, schools, nursing homes and residential tower blocks are all believed to be wrapped in the dangerous material.
Test results quietly smuggled out by the Government reveal that types of HPL cladding combined with certain insulations “are very unlikely to adequately resist the spread of fire”.
The Government’s official advice is that building owners who identify these materials on residential buildings over 18m (60ft) in height should take “immediate measures to remediate their system”.
Fire experts have been warning for months that the coverings were flopping safety tests and could pose a deadly threat.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said the cladding is found on at least 1,700 buildings.
He said: “These tests confirm what has long been apparent – HPL cladding is not safe.
“It’s outrageous that it has taken the government so long to recognise the risk. There can be no further delays – swift action must be taken to make sure people are safe in their homes.”
Labour’s shadow housing minister Sarah Jones, angrily accused ministers of “a poor attempt at a cover-up” by failing to mention the failed tests in a statement to Parliament.
The tests were carried out a week ago.
She said: “The government has finally confirmed what experts have been telling them for years – HPL cladding is lethal and should be removed from buildings.
“The fact that ministers waited until two years after Grenfell to confirm to people that they have been living in potential death traps is a disgrace.”
Some 72 people died after a blaze tore through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in West London in June 2017.
The cladding – known as ACM – and design of the building acted as a chimney, helping the lethal blaze engulf he block within minutes.
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said money has been put into taking down ACM cladding and said he has given housing authorities more power to borrow to pay for fitting sprinklers in homes.
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A housing department spokesman said: “There should be no buildings in this country with this combination of cladding and insulation.
“Building owners are legally responsible for ensuring the safety of their buildings and need to make sure this is the case.
“They should be well aware of their responsibilities as we issued clear-cut advice in December 2017, reinforced last December, telling them to check that only safe cladding and insulation combinations had been used on their buildings.”
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