'Stay put' advice used as firefighters halt blaze at Waxham council block


The revelation comes as more than 3,000 residents of the Chalcots Estate in Camden, north London, are facing weeks in temporary accommodation after four tower blocks were evacuated.

The Department for Communities said in a statement that 60 high-rise buildings across 25 local authority areas had failed the tests.

Councils across the country have launched emergency reviews of their towers following the fire at Grenfell Tower in London which is believed to have killed at least 79 people.

Downing Street declined to specify whether the Grenfell cladding was combustible or not, citing an ongoing investigation.

Work to remove cladding from nine towers ahead of the results of government tests started in Salford on Sunday. One mechanism to deal with this issue is to introduce a level of transparency into what cladding is used on which buildings, and allow the market to decide.

"Whilst we are clear that our cladding design and insulation significantly differs to that at Grenfell Tower, the external cladding panels did not satisfy our independent laboratory testing or the high standards we set for contractors", Gould said in a statement Thursday, adding that the council had made a decision to "immediately begin preparing to remove these external cladding panels".

A London Fire Bridgade spokesman said: "Nearly 60 firefighters and officers dealt with a fire in a flat on Mansfield Road Gospel Oak this evening".

Schools and hospitals anxious about fire risk in the wake of the Grenfell disaster are being urged to make use of the Government's building material testing facility.

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The council's leader Georgia Gould said the local authority was left with little choice when the fire service advised there was nothing to be done to ensure the safety of the residents.

Numerous estate's dwellers have raised concerns about fire safety issues in recent days, and once again pressured borough authorities on the subject at a meeting on Thursday.

As part of the response, ministers announced that tests would be carried out on materials used on hundreds of social housing buildings amid fears their cladding could be similar to that used on Grenfell Tower.

Authorities in London evacuated roughly 650 apartments in a high-rise complex overnight, citing fears that the complex bore numerous safety issues that Grenfell Tower did.

In a statement the Local Government Association emphasised that a failed cladding test would not necessarily mean evacuation of a block.

The new figure is a significant jump from the 34 high-rise buildings in England deemed unsafe by the government on Saturday. The blaze claimed the lives of at least 79 people, although the death toll is still expected to rise.

Responding to criticism that the testing program was not running quickly enough, he said landlords must get potentially flammable building materials tested as soon as possible.