Wales politics

Grenfell Tower: 'Leadership' needed on fire safety in Wales

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Media captionBethan Jenkins called for assurances "we're doing all we can" on fire safety

More "decisive leadership" must be shown over fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, a Plaid Cymru AM has said.

The Welsh Government has asked social landlords to test tower block cladding.

But South West Wales AM Bethan Jenkins said there had been inconsistent statements and ministers needed to be clear quick action was required.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said it was a "fast moving" situation and Ms Jenkins' comments were "misleading".

Meanwhile, Newport City Homes - a housing association that owns Newport's former council housing stock - has become the sixth council or housing association to confirm it is testing cladding.

All seven Welsh health boards are inspecting their properties.

Ministers said social landlords should test if they have a tower block cladding called aluminium composite material (ACM), which is similar to that used at Grenfell Tower - Reynobond PE.

Communities secretary Carl Sargeant previously said two areas had this type but refused to name them, saying tenants should be "given information before the media".

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Image caption The Welsh Government has called on social landlords to test cladding in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster

The Welsh Government said last week it was urging social landlords to conduct tests before the stance was toughened in a statement saying they were being told to do it.

But Mr Sargeant said on Wednesday he did not have the power to compel social landlords to conduct testing.

Ms Jenkins said: "So far, the main thing that we've seen from the government is just how unclear the response has been.

"The Welsh Government needs to be crystal clear and give declarative guidance on what to do for every local authority."

She said it needed to show leadership and "quick and decisive action" to keep people safe.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "Bethan Jenkins' comments are misleading and unhelpful.

"This is a fast moving and complex situation and the position is changing frequently as landlords are continuing to investigate their stock and decide what next steps to take."

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Mr Sargeant added: "Social landlords across Wales have checked cladding used on their high rise blocks and have assured us that none use the type of cladding found in Grenfell Tower, i.e Reynobond PE."

However, he instructed those with ACM panels to test them immediately and "engage with and reassure" tenants.

Newport City Homes said it was liaising with Building Research Establishment - which is conducting cladding tests - to test samples to provide "further assurances".

A spokeswoman said the landlord was "compliant with the relevant additional safety measures proposed".

She added: "Neither our contractor or manufacturer have used the terminology of ACM", and samples were being sent for testing as a precaution.

There are 35 tower blocks seven storeys high or higher in Wales - of which Newport City Homes has three.

Swansea, Anglesey council and three other housing associations have also said they are testing, with Anglesey and the housing associations confirming they have not used ACM.

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