Grenfell Tower fire

Grenfell Tower fire. Photograph: Grenfell Action Group

Hackney Council will order an independent review of cladding in all Hackney social housing tower blocks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, Hackney Citizen can reveal.

It will also hold fire safety risk assessments early despite claiming all 181 blocks have been checked since June 2016 to make sure residents’ homes are safe.

A council spokesperson said: “We will be undertaking an independent review of the cladding used across estate blocks and will bring forward the fire safety assessments, starting with those blocks that are classified as higher risk.

“We will inform residents of these blocks before such activity takes place.”

Hackney Council has yet to say which independent body will conduct the review, when it will begin, or when they expect it to be completed. The Citizen has asked for this information.

The move comes as the council confirms only two out of 181 social housing tower blocks in Hackney have sprinklers installed. Both blocks are on Frampton Park Estate in central Hackney.

Cladding made of a form of aluminium – known as aluminium composite material – is in the spotlight following last week’s Grenfell Tower fire, which killed at least 79 residents. Its polythene core may have caused the fire to spread more quickly.

Hackney’s move follows the government ordering local councils to carry out urgent checks on their cladding, including to see whether aluminium has been used.

Melanie Dawes, permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, has said: “It is important to stress that ACM [aluminium composite material] cladding is not of itself dangerous, but it is important that the right type is used.”

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has said the government will cover the costs of any building work to make housing blocks safe from fires.

When the Citizen asked Hackney Council whether aluminium cladding was used in Hackney social housing blocks, the council said its records show is has not been, but appeared to suggest this was not certain.

The council spokesperson said: “Our records show that aluminium cladding has not been used on estates. However, the council is undertaking a review of the cladding. We will be reviewing the cladding used on estates and they will be fire safety checked.”

The Citizen is seeking clarification of this response.

When asked for a list of tower blocks with any form of cladding, the spokesperson said Hackney Council has “up-to-date records” but is checking “this list is complete” by contacting residents before releasing the information.

Read more: Grenfell fire: Only two Hackney tower blocks have sprinklers – both on the same estate

Do you have any information about fire safety in Hackney? Email editor@hackneycitizen.co.uk

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