LONDON — The British government sought to defend itself from accusations it hadn’t done enough to prevent the deadly fire that swept through a London high-rise last week, saying the cladding that appears to have contributed to the fire’s spread is already banned for use on tall buildings in the U.K.
At least 58 people are presumed dead from the fire that ripped through a west London low-income residential tower, police said over the weekend, warning that the number might change as the search operation continues. Residents, who had complained for years that the building wasn’t fire-safe, said the newly installed cladding may have contributed to the fire’s quick spread.
Asked if the government would implement a ban on the type of cladding used in Grenfell Tower, a 24-story building consumed by a blaze early Wednesday, Treasury chief Philip Hammond on Sunday said: “My understanding is that the cladding in question, this flammable cladding, which is banned in Europe and the U.S., is also banned here.”
“So there are two separate questions. One is: Are our regulations correct, do they permit the right kind of materials, ban the wrong kind of materials?”, Hammond told the British Broadcasting Corp. “Second question is: Were they correctly complied with?”
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