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Government commences £400m cladding replacement programme

31 associations and 12 local authorities have so far received money set aside to address fears over the safety over materials used to clad some high-rise buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire

The government has begun distributing a £400m fund that it has assigned to remove and replace aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding used in high-rise residential buildings owned by social landlords.

A total of 31 housing associations and 12 local authorities have so far been allocated funding to remove and replace unsafe ACM materials from social housing properties that are 18 metres tall or higher that are deemed to be unsafe. An estimated £248m of the fund has so far been allocated, according to the government.

The commitments form part of a wider response to concerns around building safety and design following the Grenfell Tower fire last year. This includes launching the Independent Review of Fire Safety and Building Regulations that was overseen by Dame Judith Hackitt.

Secretary of State for Communities James Brokenshire said the release of the funding and ongoing work to remove and replace cladding would now be closely monitored by government.

He added, “We are doing the right thing by residents and fully funding the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding in social housing buildings 18 metres or above.”

“In the private sector, I want to see landlords protect leaseholders from these costs. I am pleased that a number have stepped forward to do so, including Barratt Developments, Legal & General, Taylor Wimpey, Mace and Peabody. However, there are some who are not engaging in this process. If they don’t, I have ruled nothing out.”

75 per cent of social housing using unsafe ACM cladding has now either replaced, or is in the process of removing the material, according to recent findings from the Ministry of Communities and Local Government. Plans for replacing the remaining ACM cladding are also in place.

The government added, “Interim fire safety measures are in place in all affected buildings to keep residents safe until the cladding has been replaced.”

The funding programme is part of a wider government response to the Grenfell Tower fire with a ban on combustible materials in high-rise buildings also being finalised at present in line with recommendations in the Hackitt review.

However, Initial proposals for this ban have recently been criticised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) that has called for only non-combustible materials to be allowed for cladding. The group has also called for a ban that applies to all buildings and not just critical newbuilds.

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