Architect and TV star George Clarke has launched a petition calling for an outright ban on combustible cladding in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy
The Channel 4 Restoration Man presenter, who lives near the west London tower, is lobbying the government to stop the use of dangerous cladding on high-rise towers, schools and hospitals.
The architect said he was infuriated that, a year on from the tragedy, ‘nothing had changed’. He said he hoped to collect the 100,000 signatures required to force MPs to debate the issue in parliament. So far just over 11,000 people have signed the petition.
We shouldn’t have to wait for the results of a lengthy inquiry to make the simplest of common-sense changes
Last month the government announced it would run a consultation on whether or not to ban combustible cladding. This followed wide criticism of Judith Hackitt’s decision not to do call for a ban in her post-Grenfell review of the Building Regulations.
But Clarke said that, while questions still needed to be asked, there was not a ‘single reason’ to justify why the use of any combustible materials should not be immediately banned on new high-rise buildings.
‘How on earth can the system still allow the use of flammable and combustible materials on the outside of buildings after last year?’ he said. ‘This isn’t just high-rise residentials – this is happening right now in hospitals, in schools and it is terrifying that such a simple, preventative measure to protect public safety is not being enforced …
‘We shouldn’t have to wait for the results of a lengthy inquiry to make the simplest of common-sense changes. This is a simple ask so we can collectively demonstrate the general public consensus post-Grenfell and demand action now.’
Clarke said that as soon as he had received the 100,000 signatures needed he would go ‘suited and booted’ to Downing Street to deliver the petition himself.
Calls for a ban on combustible cladding have been backed by the RIBA, a cross-party group of MPs, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the London Assembly, which recently passed a motion calling for measures to prevent the use of combustible cladding.
The London Assembly’s motion also backed the RIBA’s call for an end to desktop studies – fire-safety assessments carried out without any lab tests.
The public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, which caused 72 deaths, is at the start of a fact-finding stage with opening statements heard throughout this week.