Fire expert’s shocking interview reveals government’s new fire regs in many ways worse than before Grenfell – and that the use of the most flammable materials continues unchecked
Fire expert Arnold Tarling sprang to prominence in the aftermath of the terrible Grenfell Tower tragedy, when he broke down during a televised interview as he told how the government had ignored his multiple warnings that cladding used on residential buildings would have a terrible cost in lives lost.
Mr Tarling subsequently told the SKWAWKBOX that he had warned of the dangers posed by unsuitable materials and unfit safety regulations for more than three years by the time of the Grenfell disaster – and had been consistently ignored.
And today, speaking by phone to the SKWAWKBOX from holiday, he has exclusively told the SKWAWKBOX that the situation has only become worse in the intervening two and a half years – and that the number of buildings at risk is many times higher than recent reports have suggested.
Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that ‘hundreds of apartment blocks still have risky cladding’ – and that only one has received approval for government funding to remove it. Only fourteen building owners have even applied before the deadline.
In an attempt to contain the damage during the general election period, the government’s media allies have told viewers and readers today that last night’s terrifying blaze in Bolton did not have ‘the same flammable cladding’ involved in the Grenfell blaze – as if any other flammable cladding isn’t a problem.
But Arnold Tarling says that the government’s building regulations have got worse since 2017 – and that the number of buildings in which people are at risk numbers in the ‘tens of thousands’.
Mr Tarling told the SKWAWKBOX that even the ‘ACM’ cladding used on Grenfell Tower is still legal to use on buildings up to 18m tall – the Bolton block would be classified as within this limit, as calculations assume three metres per floor – and that even on taller buildings, other highly dangerous materials can still be used:
Not only can ACM cladding be used on buildings of up to six storeys, but under the government’s new regulations the highly-flammable ACM has been classified as ‘filler’ – meaning it can be used between other materials with only the main materials measured for combustibility, as Tarling went on to explain:
The Bolton fire has again revealed the Tories’ absolute lack of concern – and near-total lack of action – about the danger posed to ordinary people by unfit construction materials, even after the horrors of the Grenfell Tower blaze.
But Arnold Tarling’s brave revelations have shown that the danger remains far greater than the Establishment is acknowledging – and that the Tories have even made things worse than they were, rather than making any improvements in response to the Grenfell tragedy.
And the decision to re-classify – for the first time ever – the very material that caused such loss of life as a filler to allow its continued use is one of the most telling illustrations you could imagine of the Tories’ utter contempt for the rest of us.
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