Britain’s housing safety scandal intensified on Saturday as officials confirmed that 27 tower blocks in 15 council areas of England had failed fire safety tests.
The news follows chaotic scenes on Friday night as thousands of North London residents were forced to leave their high-rise homes amid safety concerns following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.
Work to secure their flats on the Chalcots estate could take up to four weeks and urgent accommodation was being sought by Camden Council.
More supplies and food donations arriving at the Chalcots relief centre at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre pic.twitter.com/8cengWfKHu— Camden New Journal (@NewJournal) 24 juin 2017
Council leader Georgia Gould said:
“The most important thing, I think, is to keep communicating with people, take a personalised approach, you know.
“We’ve got social services here working with people who need extra support. And just keep reassuring people that we are doing this because we want them to be safe and we will do everything in our power to make sure they’re safely housed before we get them back into their blocks.”
Five tower blocks in Camden were cleared on Friday night although one was later deemed safe.
Outside cladding is the focus of investigations into why the Grenfell fire spread so quickly, killing at least 79 people, having started in a fridge freezer.
British officials have conducted tests on some 600 high-rise buildings across England after fire ravaged the Grenfell social tower block in west London on June 14, in the capital’s most deadly blaze since World War Two.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who was forced to apologise for the government’s initial slow response to the tragedy, said the authorities were now racing to establish what needed to be done.
“In some cases it’s possible to take mitigating action,” she told Sky news. “In others it’s been necessary for people to move out on a temporary basis and that is what happened in Camden last night.”
The fire has become a flashpoint for public anger at the record of May’s Conservative Party in government following austerity -driven cuts to local authority budgets. Grenfell Tower is located in Kensington, one of the richest boroughs in Europe.
British police have said they are considering bringing manslaughter charges over the Grenfell fire.