Wales politics

No Grenfell Tower type cladding in Wales, says minister

A tower block in Newport

No high-rise blocks used for social housing in Wales appear to have the cladding used at Grenfell Tower, the communities secretary has said.

Seventy-nine people are now feared dead after the London fire last week with concerns raised about the cladding installed on the building.

Carl Sargeant told AMs on Tuesday that Welsh registered social landlords own 36 blocks of seven or more storeys.

He said seven blocks had been "retro-fitted" with fire sprinklers.

A new "expert group" would advise on the lessons for Wales from the fire, Mr Sargeant said.

Updating AMs on the Welsh Government's response to the fire, he said his "deepest sympathies" were with all those affected.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Work to install new cladding in Grenfell Tower was completed in 2015

Mr Sargeant said: "It appears the direct cause may have been the use of combustible cladding.

"We have therefore completed a first round of urgent discussion with all registered social landlords in Wales.

"Between them they own 36 blocks of flats of seven or more storeys.

"Social landlords have told us none appear to be fitted with the type of cladding used at Grenfell Tower."

The new expert group will include representatives from the social housing and fire sectors and will be chaired by the Welsh Government's chief fire and rescue adviser Des Tidbury.

Grenfell Tower's exterior cladding, added in 2015, had a polyethylene - or plastic - core instead of an even more fireproof alternative.

The cladding was used on other buildings hit by fires around the world.

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