About 600 high-rise apartment blocks in England have been fitted with cladding similar to that used on the London tower in which 79 people died in a devastating fire last week, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said.
Tests are being carried out on samples from blocks across the country at the rate of 100 a day, May told lawmakers in the House of Commons Thursday as she urged all landlords to submit their properties for checks.
“I’ve been informed a number of those tests have come back as combustible,” and local-government bodies have been informed, May said in a statement about the fire in the Grenfell Tower in Kensington, in the west of the capital. “I know many others living in tall residential buildings will have concerns about their safety.”
May’s spokeswoman, Alison Donnelly, told reporters that estimates from local authorities suggest about 600 buildings have the same type of cladding, which is suspected of assisting the spread of the blaze. The estimates exclude Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The police and fire service will make a statement about the role of the cladding in the fire “within the next 48 hours,” May said, stressing that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions. The prime minister has already announced a wide-ranging public inquiry into the blaze.
“This is part of a criminal investigation,” May said. “We must therefore ensure we give the police the opportunity to do the job they undertake and do nothing to prejudice that.”
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