At least 79 people were killed in the blaze at London’s Grenfell Tower. (Reuters: Toby Melville)
Nearly 150 high-rise buildings have failed safety tests introduced after the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in west London, a spokeswoman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said.
“So far the cladding from 149 high rise buildings in 45 local authority areas have failed the tests,” the spokeswoman said.
“That continues to be a 100 per cent test failure rate.”
The testing is being done as officials around Britain scramble to assess the safety of apartment buildings following the June 14 inferno that engulfed the tower, killing an estimated 79 people.
Combustible cladding used to insulate the tower and improve its appearance has been blamed for the rapid spread of the blaze.
Ms May, who was forced to apologise for the government’s initial slow response to the tragedy, said the authorities were working to establish what needed to be done.
Responding to reports that the public and media were not allowed into a council meeting on the devastating fire, she said: “Our view is that access to democracy should always be easy.”
In a statement, Ms May’s office criticised the Kensington and Chelsea council’s decision to halt its first meeting since the inferno.
“The High Court ruled that the meeting should be open and we would have expected the council to respect that.”
The local government council is also facing reports it used more flammable materials in renovating the building to save money.
Manslaughter charges being considered over deadly blaze
Police last week said they were considering filing manslaughter charges over the Grenfell disaster, and were conducting a wide-ranging investigation that would look at everything that contributed to it.
The Metropolitan Police said the fire started in a fridge but spread rapidly, trapping residents in their beds as they slept.
Police said cladding attached to the 24-storey public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and said they had seized documents from a number of organisations.
“We are looking at every criminal offence from manslaughter onwards,” Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said.
“We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offences, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”