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No U-turn on combustibles ban, urges MPA UK Concrete

Combustibles ban

Group representing UK concrete sector says combustibles ban should not come with any exemptions or further testing

GOVERNMENT proposals to ban all combustible material in the external walls of buildings over 11m in height will protect lives and should not come with exemptions for any materials, says MPA UK Concrete.

Responding to the Government’s review of the ban on the use of combustible material, the group representing the UK concrete industry has called on policymakers to avoid exemptions and concessions for further fire tests on combustible materials that have been proven to burn as a result of fires in multi-occupancy buildings.

Chris Leese, director of MPA UK Concrete, commented: ‘While legislation continues to allow for potentially combustible materials for buildings where many people – including the vulnerable – sleep, any U-turn would mean that the UK is continuing to knowingly build more and unnecessary risk into the heart of our built environment.

‘Last-minute calls for government to fund costly research into the fire performance of some materials would simply leave fire performance to chance. Public safety is critical, and if further testing is required of materials like cross-laminated timber there is already too much doubt about its ability to protect people.’

In its response to the Government, MPA UK Concrete has stated that a ban on combustibles would not restrict designers from making sustainable material choices.

Mr Leese continued: ‘A ban on all combustible materials in construction would not jeopardise the Government’s ability to meet its commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2050. It is vital, therefore, that the debate on fire protection is informed by the facts, and not misperceptions about the carbon performance of concrete.

‘Concrete and concrete products can be part of a net zero society, and are being used to construct buildings that have a low environmental impact due to better whole-life performance through superior energy efficiency and reduced maintenance requirements over their long lifetimes. The concrete and cement industry has demonstrated that it can decarbonize and it will continue to support government to meet the net zero target.’

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