sábado, 17 de junho de 2017
Theresa May avoids questions on personal response to Grenfell disaster / Cladding for Grenfell Tower was cheaper, more flammable option / VIDEO: Theresa May on Grenfell Tower - full BBC Newsnight interview
Theresa May avoids questions on personal response to Grenfell disaster
In an interview on Newsnight, the prime minister sidestepped the issue of whether she had misread public anger
Saturday 17 June 2017 04.37 BST Last modified on Saturday 17 June 2017 08.39 BST
Theresa May has sidestepped questions over her response to the Grenfell Tower disaster after facing renewed criticism of her reaction to the tragedy.
In an interview on BBC’s newsnight on Friday, the prime minister said the fire which has claimed the lives of at least 30 people with dozens more missing was “absolutely horrifying” and had been a “terrifying experience” for those affected.
But she sidestepped questions over whether she had failed to judge the public mood.
The interviewer, Emily Maitlis, suggested that there was a need for the public to hear her say something had gone badly wrong and that the government accepted responsibility, but May said: “Something terrible has happened.
“This is an absolutely awful fire that took place. People have lost their lives, people have had their homes destroyed, they have fled for their lives with absolutely nothing.”
Asked if she had misread the public anger, she replied: “What I have done since this incident took place is, first of all, ensure that the public services had the support they need in order to be able to do the job they were doing in the immediate aftermath.”
Pressed again on whether she had failed to understand the anger felt by the public, she said: “This was a terrible tragedy that took place. People have lost their lives and others have lost everything, all their possessions, their home and everything.
“What we are doing is putting in place the support that will help them.
“But it is a terrible tragedy. I have heard horrifying stories from the fire brigade, from police and from victims themselves who were in that tower but also from other local residents, some of whom of course have not been able to go back to their homes either.
“What I’m now absolutely focused on is ensuring that we get that support on the ground.
“Government is making money available, we are ensuring we are going to get to the bottom of what happened, we will ensure that people are rehoused, but we need to make sure that that actually happens.”
May said the public inquiry into the fire would take place “as soon as possible” and insisted the government had acted on previous warnings about tower block safety by a coroner.
George Eaton ✔ @georgeeaton
Theresa May really needed to break from her robotic interview style there - didn't happen. #newsnight
11:55 PM - 16 Jun 2017
103 103 Retweets 223 223 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
“The government has taken action on the recommendations of the coroner’s report,” she insisted.
Asked how residents in other high rise blocks would be able to sleep at night, May said: “The government is doing everything in its power to ensure that people are safe. We have identified those buildings and now and over the weekend people are going in and inspecting those buildings.”
Jonathan Lis @jonlis1
May on #newsnight refuses even to consider answers to tough Qs & repeats rehearsed lines verbatim. Looks rattled & nervous. Painful watch.
11:57 PM - 16 Jun 2017
104 104 Retweets 156 156 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
The prime minister’s performance was met with scorn on social media but also by once-friendly media outlets such as the Daily Mail, which panned her interview showing on its website under the headline “Maybot malfunction”.
Anita Singh ✔ @anitathetweeter
Theresa May just repeating the same phrases over and over again with blind panic in her eyes #Newsnight
11:52 PM - 16 Jun 2017
19 19 Retweets 43 43 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
Earlier, May met a group of victims, residents, volunteers and community leaders at a church close to the scene of the horrific blaze, and visited survivors in hospital.
But the visits, which took place more than 48 hours after the devastating fire broke out, have done little to quell the growing anger over the way she has dealt with the tragedy.
As she left St Clement’s Church following a visit lasting less than an hour, the PM faced cries of “coward” and “shame on you”. One woman wept saying it was because May had declined to speak to anyone outside the meeting.
Press Association contributed to this report
Cladding for Grenfell Tower was cheaper, more flammable option
Exclusive: Omnis Exteriors asked to supply cladding £2 cheaper a square metre than fire-resistant type, investigation finds
Rob Davies, Kate Connolly in Berlin and Ian Sample
Friday 16 June 2017 13.44 BST
Material used in the cladding that covered the Grenfell Tower was the cheaper, more flammable version of the two available options, an investigation of the supply chain has confirmed.
Omnis Exteriors manufactured the aluminium composite material (ACM) used in the cladding, a company director, John Cowley, confirmed to the Guardian.
He also said Omnis had been asked to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower.
White cladding on Grenfell Tower. The supplier said it had been asked for Reynobond PE rather than FR – fire resistant
“We supplied components for a system created by the design and build team on that project,” said Cowley.
Harley Facades confirmed it had installed the panels bought from Omnis in the work it performed on Grenfell Tower.
Omnis sold ACM cladding to Harley Facades, which was responsible for installing it.
Construction firm Rydon Maintenance was the lead contractor on the project but sub-contracted elements of the work to smaller companies, including Harley.
Omnis Exteriors describes itself as a “leading UK manufacturer and supplier of exterior building products and systems”. Its website states: “With almost 400 multi-storey projects completed, you know that you are in good hands.”
The website also says Omnis manufactures cladding at a workshop in St Helens and has supplied dozens of building projects around the country.
It reported a profit of £1.2m last year, the same year in which the ACM it supplied was installed on Grenfell Tower.
The company also paid a dividend of £950,000 to its sole shareholder, an investment group specialising in construction companies called Xerxes Equity.
The chairman of Xerxes and its largest shareholder is the corporate grandee Tony Rice, who is a former chief executive of the telecoms multinational Cable & Wireless and is also a trustee of the housing charity Shelter.
German construction companies have been banned from using plastic-filled cladding, such as Reynobond PE, on towers more than 22 metres high since the 1980s when regulations were brought in to improve fire safety at residential blocks.
Concerns that the panels could exacerbate the spread of fires led authorities to allow them only on buildings that can be reached by the fire brigade using fully-extended ladders from the ground. Taller buildings require panels with a more fire-resistant core and separate staircases for people to use if evacuation becomes necessary.
Frankfurt’s fire chief, Reinhard Ries, said he was appalled at the fire at Grenfell Tower and said tighter fire-safety rules for tower blocks in Germany meant that a similar incident could not happen there. US building codes also restrict the use of metal-composite panels without flame-retardant cores on buildings above 15 metres.
Germany is deemed to have some of the most stringent fire regulations in the world. High-rise tower blocks are common, particularly in former communist parts of the country, where they dominated new-build housing for decades. In Berlin and elsewhere, the austere blocks have become fashionable places to live, in part because of a housing shortage and the high cost of accommodation.
Berlin’s fire chief, Wilfried Gräfling, said the London fire made it clear that fire regulations should be tightened further with only mineral materials used in cladding panels. “We will try to persuade lawmakers that flammable material should no longer be allowed to be used as an insulant,” he told Der Spiegel. “Only mineral material that can’t burn, ensuring that it’s no longer possible for a fire to spread via the cladding,.”
The speed at which the fire spread at Grenfell Tower has led to intense speculation that external cladding panels made from aluminium sheets with a flammable polyethylene core may have fuelled the fire that tore through the block in the early hours of Wednesday morning. But the investigation into the tragedy will look at scores of other factors that could have contributed to the blaze, including the proper installation of fire barriers between the cladding on each floor and any holes left after the recent refurbishment through which fire could have spread.
In the UK there are no regulations requiring the use of fire-retardant material in cladding used on the exterior of tower blocks and schools. But the Fire Protection Association (FPA), an industry body, has been pushing for years for the government to make it a statutory requirement for local authorities and companies to use only fire-retardant material. Jim Glocking, technical director of the FPA, said it had “lobbied long and hard” for building regulations on the issue to be tightened, but nothing had happened.
On Thursday police launched a criminal inquiry into the fire at the 24-storey building. At least 30 people died in the blaze, though police expect the figure to rise substantially. Of the injured, 30 remain in hospital with 15 in a critical condition.