comment News

Video: horrific new cladding fire consumes Bolton block – and broadcasters ignore

Students assured in 2017 ‘not the same dangerous cladding’

A tower block in Bolton has been consumed by a horrifying cladding fire – two years after students living there were told it wasn’t the dangerous cladding used on Grenfell Tower:

All floors of the building were consumed.

At the time of writing, Tory leader Boris Johnson had not commented on the blaze.

Yet in the last hour at the time of writing, Sky News did not mention the blaze once – and BBC News’ 16 seconds of coverage did not mention cladding at all:

The spread and ferocity of the fire is clear from footage:

Two people are reported to have been injured, but – thank God – nobody is said to have died.

Local media reported that the fire was ‘crawling up the cladding’ – and firefighter Andrew Scattergood was unequivocal:

Those affected were outraged at the lack of proper media attention:

The Labour Party has commented on the ‘horrific reminder’ the blaze represents, saying that the Tories have questions to answer:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thanked emergency services and condemed the Tories’ ‘shameful inaction’:

Update: at 9.31am, just after the writing of this article, BBC News gave three minutes of coverage to the Bolton blaze. Cladding was not mentioned once.


Why have the Tories done nothing about the clear danger of cladding on thousands of buildings in more than two years since the Grenfell disaster?

Why are the news broadcasters this morning talking at length about trivia and ‘Westminster bubble’ obsessions – yet giving no coverage whatsoever to the fact that cladding has consumed another residential block?

There is a general election happening. People deserve to be informed about the callous recklessness and disregard for the lives of ordinary people that is endemic in the Tory government.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. “Why have the Tories done nothing about the clear danger of cladding on thousands of buildings in more than two years since the Grenfell disaster?”

    In this case because it’s up north, the desolate north,only fit for fracking apparently, where most people appear to be Labour supporters, and therefore expendable in the eyes of the Westminster village. It wouldn’t surprise me if some BBC buildings had the same cladding…..

    If the next government becomes Labour, they should be handing out prison sentences, not peerages in the New Years’ Honours List.

    1. I don’t think that over-statement helps anything. The incident hasn’t been ‘covered up’ – I learned of it within two minutes of turning on the news, and the Groan report raises the question of the cladding.

      Two factors do affect coverage, unfortunately : anything outside London requires reporters and news editors to get out of bed, and the number of fatalities. But that’s not a ‘cover-up’.

      1. RH this problem is a class action against multinational corporations and is a worldwide problem of flamable toxic insulation bolted to the fabric of the building with an air gap that acts as a chimney to envelope a building in minutes This problem will not go away and the solution will effect building regs across the world….Can anyone seriously expect the torys to turn on the corporate masters

  2. No one in this government local or national will make a decision that will cost billions to sort out,not when your corporate masters are your paymasters.

  3. Some clever spinning going on “this is not the same cladding as greenfell” .no it might not be but its absolutely dangerous and the fitting of wall cladding is the same method Bolted to the fabric using an air gap between the fabric and the insulation and a plastic membrane for damp penetration.Basically a air gap that acts as a chimney and a plastic membrane to accelerate the fire,with the insulation that may not be flamable or not but definitely toxic.Typically BBC reporting and corperate grovelling with the usual establishment bias…and we pay for that….?

  4. And in other news Bolton wanderers had a collection for the students in the fire at the students accommodation,where we are told that they lost everything!.So different to the former Chairman of BOLTON wanderers who bankrupted the club ,local business ,and even took the minimum pay wages staff.He also avoided paying the council,the police and fled to his tax exile island in the Caribbean.Naturaly still found time to bung money to his beloved tory party and ran away protected by LTD company status.We now have responsible owners who understand what football means to lancastrians….ps we won 1 – 0 against MK Dons and are rebuilding Bolton wanderers and hopefully the town under a Labour government

  5. In her tweet, April asked: ‘SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHY THIS ISN’T TOP OF THE NEWS!!’

    Because there’s a General Election coming up in less than four weeks. THAT’s why!

    1. Allan it was on Sky news,but obviously the fact of a General election dampened down most of the pro tory media including the BBC.Maybe sky news had an off day and even mentioned cladding and a quote from the FBU leader.!

  6. Sarah Jones, Labour’s shadow housing minister, has written to the Housing Secretary following the Bolton tower block fire.

    Below is the full text of Labour’s questions on housing.

    Setting a deadline for the removal of all ACM cladding
    1.The removal and replacement of ACM cladding on social and private blocks is still far too slow. After repeated Labour pressure, your government set targets to see social blocks completed by the end of the year and private blocks by June 2020. However figures reveal that at the current rate, the social sector will not be made safe until October 2022 and private blocks until October 2033. How do you intend on getting this programme of work back on target?
    2.The funding for the removal of cladding from social blocks has still not been fully allocated – despite it being announced well over a year ago. Can you confirm when both cladding funds will be fully distributed?
    3.There are even bigger questions over the fund for removing ACM cladding from private blocks. Not a single block has been allocated funding, despite the fund being announced six months ago. You have said that some developers will maintain their commitment to pay for the work but have given no clarity on how many blocks this accounts for, nor what you will do if developers backtrack having previously agreed to pay. Can you clarify how many blocks the £200m fund your government announced in June, will cover, and whether you will set a deadline for the funding to be allocated?

    Guaranteeing that all flammable cladding is identified
    4.Labour has been warning since July 2017 that the cladding crisis was not limited to ACM cladding. It took your Government two years to admit that High Pressure Laminate (HPL) was too dangerous to be kept on buildings. Can you corroborate what is indicated by planning documents, that the cladding on the block in Bolton is the same Trespa brand as the failed fire test shown to your department in November 2018?
    5.Can you confirm what action the government has taken to remove dangerous HPL cladding from tower blocks across the country since admitting in the summer that it should be removed? It would appear to those living in affected tower blocks that your government has done nothing.
    6.Do you agree that the Bolton fire demonstrates that urgent action must begin from government to remediate HPL clad buildings?
    7.Your government has tested HPL and Grenfell-style ACM cladding to the British Standards approved pass/fail criteria. Will you commit to testing all remaining samples of non-ACM cladding to the same standard?

    Finding and removing all flammable cladding from tower blocks
    8.Following a large-scale British Standards test on all non-ACM cladding samples, will you commit to immediately ordering the removal of all cladding which fails the tests?
    9.After Grenfell, the government short-sightedly only collected information on private blocks containing ACM cladding and still has no overall picture of the number of blocks covered in suspect non-ACM cladding. Will you commit to fast-tracking the building cladding surveys on tall buildings so that work can start as soon as possible if any samples fail a large-scale test?

    Putting the safety of residents first
    10.Residents deserve to know immediately if their block is covered in dangerous materials, but you are still unable to guarantee that this has happened in buildings found to have unsafe cladding to date. Ministers continue to insist that building owners are responsible for informing residents. Given reports of residents in buildings with flammable cladding being kept in the dark about this fact, will you commit to communicating directly with residents in blocks with failed cladding, to name and shame the owners of these blocks?
    11.Will you toughen the sanctions for any block owners who do not act to remove and replace dangerous cladding (ACM or non-ACM) with stronger powers for councils to take over blocks where owners refuse to do this, to get the work done? Too many unscrupulous private building owners have left residents living in fear while they pass on extortionate bills for interim fire safety measures such as waking watches.
    12.Sprinklers are a legal requirement for all new high-rise blocks, yet ministers continue to claim retrofitting of high-rise social blocks is ‘non-essential’. Following calls from numerous councils and fire experts, will you match Labour’s commitment to a £1bn Fire Safety Fund to retrofit sprinklers in social sector tower blocks?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: