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Grenfell | Salford blocks 'fail' new fire test

Grenfell Tower 3x2

The government is this morning expected to release the results of the new large scale fire tests which examine how certain combinations of cladding and insulation behave in a fire.

Salford City Council has said that the cladding and insulation system used at nine of its blocks are the same as the system which failed the large scale system tests. A statement said: ”The Department for Communities and Local Government has now informed Salford City Council that the cladding and insulation system used at the nine Pendleton blocks has failed their latest tests.”

A report from the BBC this morning claims that at least 60 blocks throughout the country have failed the test.

The large scale tests were undertaken to establish how different systems of aluminium composite material (ACM) panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire. They were conducted by the Building Research Establishment near Watford.

The tests looked at three different types of ACM cladding combined with different types of insulation and were in accordance with British Standard 8414.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is expected to publish the findings later this morning.

In Salford work to remove the existing cladding on the affected blocks started in June.

Salford deputy mayor councillor John Merry said: “We had prepared in advance for the test results and Pendleton Together, which is responsible for managing the Pendleton blocks, is already undertaking works to remove and replace the cladding system. We are focusing on doing what it takes to make the buildings safe and decisive steps have been taken to progress a permanent solution.

“Residents need and deserve this reassurance. We are fully committed to ensuring that our buildings meet the highest standards, continuing the commitment to develop a vibrant, attractive neighbourhood.

“Until the permanent solution is confirmed, the insulation is being protected from the weather with cement boards. This is a temporary measure recommended by technical advisors.

“Testing has been arranged in August to ensure that the permanent replacement meets the necessary safety standards.”

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is also understood to have told the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation (KCTMO) that it has “reasonable grounds” to suspect that each organisation may have committed the offence of corporate manslaughter.

In a letter to residents re-published in the Telegraph, it says that investigations are ongoing. Detectives will not know who to interview under caution for the criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire until the autumn, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Cllr Elizabeth Campbell said in response: “Our residents deserve answers about the Grenfell Tower fire and the police investigation will provide these. We fully support the Metropolitan Police investigation and we will cooperate in every way we can.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further on matters subject to the police investigation.”

KCTMO has been contacted for a response.

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