Northern Ireland news

New £1 million fund to remove unsafe cladding open for applications four years after Grenfell Tower fire

Finance Minister Conor Murphy said the funding `is targeted at the highest risk buildings'. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

A £1 million fund to remove unsafe cladding from private residential buildings in Northern Ireland has opened for applications four years after the Grenfell Tower fire exposed its dangers.

Aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding became notorious following the June 2017 fire when it was blamed for contributing to the rapid spread of the fire up the outside of the tower, resulting in 72 deaths.

It had been installed on the sides of Grenfell Tower to make it warmer and drier and hundreds of thousands of people across the UK are still living in buildings with similar cladding, which must now be removed at enormous cost.

In the north, the fund is being administered by the Department of Finance on behalf of the Executive and is available to management companies acting on behalf of residents in buildings more than 18 metres in height who would otherwise have an obligation to meet the cost of removal.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy said the funding "is targeted at the highest risk buildings fitted with unsafe ACM".

"It will ensure those impacted are given peace of mind while also being protected from bearing the cost of replacing the unsafe cladding on their homes.

"This will provide homeowners with reassurance and ensure that mortgage lenders and insurers can have confidence too."

He also made a public call for leaseholders and building owners to submit evidence if their building is fitted with unsafe non-ACM cladding materials.

"My department is aware that other unsafe cladding may be in place in high rise buildings.

"We are extending this call for evidence to encourage any residents, developers or building owners of buildings over 18 metres fitted with unsafe non ACM cladding to provide evidence.

"This will enable us collectively as an Executive to assess the extent of the problem and to determine the scale and necessity for any future remediation fund."

Information on the ACM fund including eligibility criteria is at www.finance-ni.gov.uk/acm-cladding and the public call for evidence for unsafe non-ACM cladding can be found at www.finance-ni.gov.uk/articles/private-residential-acm-cladding-remediation-fund-application-guidance.

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