UK government invites Kingspan for talks on fire safety compensation after Grenfell disaster

The UK housing secretary Michael Gove has invited construction products manufacturer Kingspan for talks about paying for remediation on buildings where its combustible insulation was installed inappropriately.

An image of Grenfell Tower after the 2017 fire, with a white and green hoarding erected around it reading "Grenfell: Forever in our hearts". Grenfell Tower (Image: Loz Pycock/Wikimedia Commons)

Gove’s open letter, which he published on social network Twitter, came after the company reportedly told the Observer newspaper that it would pay for remediation.

Kingspan’s Kooltherm K15 insulation was used in parts of the Grenfell Tower building in London, where 72 people lost their lives in a fire in June 2017.

The disaster led to the removal of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, which in the case of Grenfell Tower had been backed with different types of combustible insulation, from tall buildings around the UK.

A lengthy inquiry into the fire, which heard evidence from numerous contractors and construction product suppliers involved in the remediation of the 1960s tower block, followed. A report into Phase 2 of the report is due to be published at some point later this year.

In the strongly worded letter, Gove said, “I have long argued that those who manufactured flammable [sic] products and sold them have a moral and financial imperative to recognize their role in the proliferation of unsafe buildings.

“The testimony at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry uncovered shameful practices and an abhorrent culture of disregard for the safety of residents in their homes.”

Labelling Grenfell’s behaviour “reckless” and “deceptive”, Gove said its comments in the Observer that it should pay where cladding products have been used inappropriately on buildings were a “positive step”.

He added, “I invite you to meet my officials to discuss how you propose to scope, identify and pay for remediation works.”

Kingspan has been contacted for comment.

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