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Faster checks urged as 75 high-rises fail fire tests on cladding

By PA Reporters

Flammable cladding has been found on 75 high-rise buildings across 26 local authority areas, Sajid Javid has said.

The Communities and Local Government Secretary revealed the safety crisis had further escalated as he urged local authorities to hasten action.

Hospitals and schools will also be tested to make sure they are not encased in combustible cladding, he told the House of Commons. The so-called combustibility test has been failed by every building tested so far, Mr Javid said.

Grading the material on a scale of fire-resistance, the assessment determines whether the material meets building regulations.

The minister reiterated concerns in Whitehall that councils were not being fast enough in submitting samples for testing.

Mr Javid said: "I can inform the House that as of midday today the cladding from 75 high-rise buildings in 26 local authority areas has failed the combustibility test. The combustibility test has three categories rated one to three and it is judged that cladding material in categories two or three does not meet the requirements for limited combustibility in building regulations.

"I can also confirm to the House that, so far, on that basis, all samples of cladding tested have failed.

"The fact that all samples so far have failed underlines the value of the testing programme and the vital importance of submitting samples urgently."

He added: "I am concerned about the speed at which samples are being submitted. I would urge all landlords to submit their samples immediately."

Earlier, the Prime Minister led calls for authorities to speed up testing of potentially flammable material on high-rise towers amid fears of an escalating safety crisis.

Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Grenfell Recovery Taskforce as more at-risk buildings were identified across the country.

Hospitals and schools will also be tested to make sure they are not encased in combustible cladding, Downing Street said in a statement.

Every cladding sample examined so far has failed fire safety tests, amounting to 60 high-rise buildings in 25 local authorities across the country, the Government said.

Cladding from one block of high-rise apartments in Belfast - Durham House - is being investigated by experts.

The Housing Executive here used different materials from those used on Grenfell Tower.

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