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90 council-owned buildings fail new fire safety test

Nearly 100 buildings owned or managed by councils and housing associations have failed the latest fire safety tests conducted in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The independent expert panel on safety put together by the Department for Communities and Local Government recommended in July that a new test should be conducted on high-rise buildings.

Previously, the Government-commissioned Building Research Establishment (BRE) only tested the safety of cladding on buildings.

Now a 'system' test has been conducted to determine whether the cladding, filling and insulation as a whole is safe.

The test results showed that 90 buildings owned or managed by councils and housing associations do not meet the current building regulation guidance.

A total of 111 buildings have now failed to meet the guidance.

Chair of the Local Government Association's (LGA) safer and stronger communities board, Simon Blackburn, said: 'The 16 councils which own high-rise blocks with different combinations of ACM cladding and insulation have already taken steps and put in measures to reassure residents about safety.

'Councils will continue to get on with what they need to do to ensure people are safe in their homes. This includes replacing materials on high-rise blocks affected by these fire safety tests.'

Cllr Blackburn stressed that the cost of any remedial work done by councils must be met by the Government, adding that the Grenfell Tower fire had highlighted a 'systematic failure' of the current regulations.

Repeating the LGA's previous call for the BRE to release the results of fire safety tests, Cllr Blackburn said: 'Everything must be out in the open and this needs to happen as soon as possible.'

Last week, the Government announced an independent review of building regulations and fire safety.