Leeds council block cladding ‘not comparable’ to Grenfell

Neil Evans.
Neil Evans.

Cladding used on Leeds City Council-owned high-rise home blocks has been confirmed as “not comparable” to the type which is thought to have fuelled the deadly fire at London’s Grenfell Tower.

At least 79 people were killed after a blaze ripped through the 21-storey block in the capital just over a week ago.

When addressing the council’s Executive Board this week the director of housing and resources, Neil Evans, said that no Leeds towers featured cladding made with aluminium composite material (ACM).

He said: “We have 116 blocks in the city, 23 of these have been clad over the years going back to the 1990s.

“What we’ve been doing over the last few days is checking on all those cladding systems.

“None of the cladding systems we have used is comparable to the system that was used in London.”

He added: “We can give reassurance on that.”

Although there are fires in the city’s multi-storey blocks “from time to time”, said Mr Evans, the buildings “are designed so that fires don’t spread”.

He said that £12 billion had been spent by the council on implementing a system known as “compartmentalisation”.

This sub-divides buildings into a number of compartments, which can restrict the spread of fire.

Mr Evans said that if a fire occurs, for those who are not directly affected the “safest place is in the flat”.

He added that an impromptu evacuation could hinder the emergency services operation or cause “chaos”.

It emerged today that combustible cladding has been found on at least seven blocks so far, as urgent tests of around 600 clad towers across the country got underway.

The West Indian Carnival, Chapeltown, Leeds.29th August 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

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