UK leaders to seek cladding ban on high rise buildings

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Photo by United Kingdom Parliament/YouTube Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the House of Commons during a question period 23 May.

UK government officials are planning for a future ban on flammable cladding on high-rise buildings as the public inquiry continues into the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed at least 73 people in June 2017.

Exterior cladding and insulation made from a range of materials including aluminum, polyethylene, polyisocyanurate and phenolic have been blamed for the fast-spreading Grenfell Tower flames.

Calling for the "strongest possible action" during her regular question session before the UK's House of Commons 23 May, prime minister Theresa May said she intended to go further than a government-commissioned review of the fire, which didn't "specifically recommend" a ban on cladding.

A full inquiry into the fire is now underway.

"I think the deeply moving testimonies that we've already heard and will continue to hear from survivors and the bereaved leave no room for doubt that we must learn everything we can about what has happened," May said. "We must take the strongest possible action to stop such an unimaginable tragedy from ever happening again.

"[The initial] recommendations did not include recommending the banning of ... cladding. We are minded to go further by banning combustible materials including cladding on high rise buildings."

Any action must go through legal channels, however, before any bans are put in place, May added.

First responders and survivors of the tragic fire called the initial government report "a betrayal and a whitewash."

More than 300 other high-rise buildings in the UK are believed to be clad with similar materials.

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