Another disaster like the Grenfell Tower fire is looming if the government doesn’t act to ban combustible cladding, survivors have said.
Speaking to MPs on the housing select committee, they warned “Grenfell 2 is in the post” whilst it stays in use.
Cladding on the tower is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of fire during the blaze on 14 June 2017.
The government is consulting on a proposed ban but survivor Natasha Elcock told MPs: “We shouldn’t wait.”
The chairman of the committee, Clive Betts, said she and other former Grenfell residents who had accepted the invitation to speak to the committee at the House of Commons, had delivered a “very powerful message” to government.
A total of 72 people died as a result of fire in west London.
Ms Elcock, who escaped from the 11th floor of Grenfell Tower, was giving evidence to the committee as a representative of Grenfell United, the official organisation for the bereaved families of the fire, as well as as those residents who survived.
Asked what her message was to the government on the cladding, she said: “I think it should be banned.
“No-one should go through what we’ve gone through, absolutely not, but also no-one should go to sleep at night knowing they’ve got combustible cladding wrapped round their building.”
She said that whilst she understood some things needed to be consulted on, “things are not happening quick enough,” adding: “It has been a year – a year – and it is quite evident there was something really wrong with what was put on that building.
“Our world was turned upside down 12 months ago and as survivors and a bereaved community, we shouldn’t be fighting for what is right for other people.
“We will if we have to, but we shouldn’t have to. It should be banned and it should be banned now. We shouldn’t wait.”
Edward Daffarn, who lived on the 16th floor of the tower, had written a blog six months before the blaze warning of the risk.
Also representing Grenfell United, he told the committee: “There are 300 buildings with this cladding on… [it] is a disgrace.
“Grenfell two is in the post unless you act and act quickly. The government needs to take responsibility for this, step in, end people’s misery, end people’s fear and act.”
Jacqui Haynes, who chairs the Lancaster West Residents’ Association and lived next to the tower, added: “We are all sitting here, knowing the potential of those materials, knowing after the disaster what the possibilities are, and therefore we are all culpable sitting here with that knowledge.
“How can that be? How is that a discussion?”
Mr Daffarn also told the committee of a “vast chasm of mistrust” between the residents and Kensington and Chelsea Council.
Sophie Earnshaw, from the North Kensington Law Centre, said the council “had a chance to remedy this”, but instead they put “a lot of pressure” on survivors who felt they had to accept unsuitable offers of accommodation after the fire.
The council promised that all affected residents would be provided with a permanent home within a year that all affected residents would be provided with a permanent home within a year
However, of those 203 residents, around 20 still do not have a permanent home.
Tomassina Hessel, also of the Lancaster West Residents’ Association, said the community were “made to look ungrateful” for turning down homes, when actually they were not suitable – including homes with views of the tower, flats on high levels and properties that had not had fire risk assessments.