Source: Mayor of London
*Four recommendations completed and substantial progress made by London Fire Brigade ahead of first anniversary of inquiry report
*Majority of recommendations set to be met by March 2021
*Sadiq Khan warns that the Government and building owners are failing the Grenfell community by not taking faster action
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today published an update which shows that nearly a year on, the London Fire Brigade has made substantial progress on the implementation of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations.
The Inquiry’s phase one report – published on 30 October 2019 – made 46 recommendations directed at the London Fire Brigade, other fire and rescue services, the emergency services, Government and owners and managers of residential buildings.
As we approach the first anniversary of the inquiry’s report, today’s update shows that progress is underway on all points of action for the London Fire Brigade, with four of the 29 recommendations directly aimed at the Brigade now completed. Work has significantly progressed on all the remaining recommendations aimed at the London Fire Brigade, including the completion of one of the recommendations ahead of other fire and rescue services – introducing smoke hoods to aid in rescue situations. The Brigade is on track to complete the vast majority of the remaining recommendations by March next year. Due to the demands placed on the Brigade by the COVID-19 pandemic, the face-to-face training that is needed to meet the Inquiry’s recommendations has been delayed, but the Brigade has restarted its programme of training.
The published report is part of the Mayor’s regular monthly updates, following his commitment to transparency and keeping the Grenfell community and Londoners updated on progress.
This year the London Fire Brigade has introduced new guidance and rolled out an extensive programme of training in order to put in place changes for how it responds to high-rise fires, including when the ‘stay put’ guidance is no longer viable and has to be revoked, and a mass evacuation carried out. The Mayor and the London Fire Brigade have called for the Government to initiate a national review of the ‘stay put’ principle, to urgently introduce new national guidelines for the total or partial evacuation of residential high-rise buildings. The Brigade has also introduced vital new equipment such as a new fleet of 32-metre ladders, which can reach maximum height within a minute. Longer 64-metre ladders will also be introduced next year, as well as drones that can deliver water and smoke hoods to people in high rise fires.
The new London Fire Commissioner, Andy Roe, appointed by the Mayor on 1 January 2020, is committed to delivering on the recommendations of the Inquiry report and has met the Grenfell community to share updates on the changes the Brigade is making.
Since the fire, the Mayor has been calling for urgent changes to building safety regulations, including for the Government’s ban on combustible cladding to be extended to all buildings, and for sprinklers to be made compulsory in all purpose-built blocks of flats, regardless of height, as well as in schools, care homes and other places that are home to vulnerable people. The Government has not provided a timed delivery plan for the phase one recommendations it is responsible for implementing.
The Mayor joined the Fire Commissioner today at Old Kent Road Fire Station, to see a demonstration of the new equipment that will improve the Brigade’s response to high-rise fires.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was a national tragedy in which 72 innocent Londoners lost their lives. We owe it to the people who died, their loved ones and those who survived to ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.
“I will personally do everything within my power to ensure that the Inquiry’s recommendations are implemented, and I will continue to be relentless in holding to account those responsible for implementing the remaining recommendations. The Grenfell community must get the justice they deserve, and all Londoners need to feel safe again in their homes.
“Significant progress has been made under the new London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe, but it is clear there more work to be done and we are determined to make the changes needed as swiftly as possible.
“I am concerned that without faster action, the Government and building owners are failing the Grenfell community and putting lives at risk. I know the Grenfell community are fearful that a similar tragedy could happen again and I share their concerns. Since the fire, I have been calling for urgent changes to building safety regulations. The Government, housing and building industries must not wait to implement the wholesale reforms that are needed to fix a broken system.”
Commissioner of London Fire Brigade, Andy Roe, said: “Earlier this year I met with members of the Grenfell community, I am humbled by their courage and dignity in the face of what they suffered and their determination to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. I echo their determination and I am committed to completing all of the Inquiry’s recommendations so that Londoners, particularly those living in a high rise building, can feel safe in their homes.
“In the last 12 months we have been working to implement those recommendations directed at the LFB or fire and rescue services. We have made changes including introducing new equipment, such as fire escape hoods and new drones. We have developed new procedures to help firefighters tackle fires in buildings that fail and are training for our firefighters and officers in these.
“This has been a challenging year for everyone and the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in some of our improvement activities taking longer to implement than planned. Everyone affected by the Grenfell Tower fire deserves to see progress being made on all recommendations as quickly as possible and minimising any delays is a priority to me.
“I share the Mayor’s concerns that faster action is needed by the Government, housing and building industries and that urgent changes do need to be made to building safety regulations. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and we need to work together to make sure a similar tragedy is prevented.”