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All combustible materials on outside of new buildings to be banned

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There will be a ban on all combustible materials on the outside of buildings, the government has announced.

This including combustible cladding panels and combustible insulation.

The new policy – which includes combustible cladding panels and insulation – will affect schools, hospitals, care homes and high-rise buildings over 18 metres currently being built and those constructed in the future.

However, the ban will not be retrospective.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We’re remediating all social residential buildings with cladding through a £400m fund [which was previously announced] and putting huge pressure on private owners to remediate.

“This is already having a big impact with multiple big developers already committed.”

The move comes after the Royal Institute of British Architects and others called for all combustible materials on the outside of buildings to be banned.

A government consultation began on banning combustible cladding systems from new high-rise flats after what ministers describe as an “unlawful” combination of products on Grenfell Tower helped spread the fire in June 2017 which killed 72 people.

Despite being removed from hundreds of tower blocks in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, they have still been permitted on countless buildings including shops, hotels, offices, hospitals and schools.

The UK’s biggest manufacturer of plastic foam insulation had opposed plans by the government to ban combustible products from new tower blocks.

Kingspan, which made the Kooltherm K15 insulation that was fitted to parts of Grenfell Tower, said a ban would not guarantee better fire safety.

Tony Ryan, Kingspan’s head of fire engineering services, talked at a London conference in June about the potential consequences of a ban on combustible materials for buildings over 18m.

Among his 10 points were “worry and concern” for people living in “a huge amount of non-compliant buildings” fitted with combustible insulation.

He said Kingspan believes the cost of a ban would be “considerable” and would lead to “legal cases for people living and working in non compliant buildings”.

He also said the ban could leave people potentially unable to afford to heat or insulate their home.

Several other speakers at the London event argued in favour of a ban, with the Fire Protection Agency (FPA), an insurance industry research and lobby group, calling for it to be extended to all tall buildings, including hospitals and schools.

Dr Jim Glockling, FPA technical director, told the conference a total ban “would be fantastic in our eyes”.

The conference also heard claims that the combustible polyethylene-filled (PE) cladding panels that were fitted to the outside of Grenfell Tower should be banned from the UK entirely.

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