Why the 'polluter pays' principle should be applied to cladding
Today is the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Fire and for many leaseholders the repercussions of the tragedy have been life-changing. Facing government inaction on funding fire safety remediation in their blocks, flat owners have now taken matters into their own hands with a series of protests this month culminating in a rally to be held in London in July.
But they are doing more than marching. A new website at www.buildingsafetycrisis.org has been set up not only to publicise the protests but also as a point of contact to use for information about the proposed ‘Polluter Pays’ private members bill. ‘Polluter pays’ is the commonly accepted practice that those who cause pollution should pay to manage or remedy it. It is used to deal with contaminated land and support is now being sought from MPs to use the same approach for cladding remediation.
According to the website, this has already won the backing of 14 backbench MPs and was tabled in the House of Lords by the Bishop of Manchester supported by the Bishops of Kensington, London and St Albans along with the Earl of Lytton ( a peer and a chartered surveyor). If it can gain enough support, the bill will be drafted by parliamentary counsel to ensure it is in a suitable format for the Government to adopt it if it chooses to.
The aim of the Bill is to impose and apportion liability for remediation and related costs in respect of those buildings that were built in breach of building regulations and for connected purposes. It uses the same approach as that in place for the handling of contaminated land to:
- Determine if a building broke building regulations in force at the time of construction
- Apportion liability to those responsible.
Public funds can then be used for buildings where no responsible parties can be found and where buildings were compliant but are now deemed unsafe because regulations changed.
Ultimately it is hoped that with a substantial redress solution in place, government will accept the necessity to take on the costs of non-cladding remediation and waking watch/insurance increases as well as the cladding costs and recover the funding from those responsible.
If you or someone else you know is affected by these issues, go to the www.buildingsafetycrisis.org website to see an open letter which you can download and copy to your MP.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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