High-rise social housing remains at risk of future fires, Grenfell Inquiry told

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Residents of high-rise social housing blocks remain at risk of future fires due to an unstable regulatory system and inefficient fire service, the Grenfell Tower investigation has heard.

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Danny Friedman QC, who represents a group of bereaved survivors, survivors and residents of the West London Tower block, told the hearing that the UK has an “unstable fire regulatory system” and a fire service that is “facing contemporary challenges”. unable to”.

A long-running investigation is underway to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people on the night of 14 June 2017.

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His remarks came after the panel heard preliminary statements to probe the new phase of the firefighters’ investigation.

The panel also heard initial submissions from lawyers representing the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the Fire Brigade Union, the Fire Officers Association and the London Fire Commissioner, who spoke on behalf of the London Fire Brigade.

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Mr Friedman told the panel that the fire regulatory system and the fire service “need fixing.”

He added: “Until this happens, people who live in high-rise social housing will continue to be at significant risk.

“Grenfell Tower showed them (to be) least likely to be safe from fire and most likely to rely on an effective fire service response.

“The LFB (London Fire Brigade) was brave at Grenfell Tower but it was not effective.

“There was a time and a place in this investigation to deal with containment and austerity.

“But fire service leadership and fire brigade unions need to introspect far more than they currently do to acknowledge how they may be more part of the solution than the problem.”

Leslie Thomas QC, who represented a different group of bereaved people, survivors and residents, said the evidence revealed in the investigation showed the London Fire Brigade “is in urgent need of reform”.

He told the panel: “Our clients are concerned that the London Fire Brigade is an institution unable to repair itself from within … Given the public safety implications, this overhaul cannot wait.”

Mr Thomas called for appropriate funds from the government for the fire service to aid in its transformation, adding: “Safety in life cannot be sacrificed at the altar of penance.”

Anne Studd QC, representing London Mayor Sadiq Khan, told the investigation that since the creation of the LFB’s governing body, the London Fire Commissioner in April 2018, “more direct oversight and investigation” is now being carried out by the mayor.

He said that 18 of the 29 recommendations made by the panel in the first phase report have been completed and Mr Khan is working to implement the rest.

In addition, Mr Khan was calling for a “sustainable annual increase in funding” to carry out fire safety activity on buildings across London until they are safe.

Martin Seward QC, representing the fire brigade union, told the investigation that the union supported some aspects of fire service reform, but warned any further structural reform “with the opportunity of further reductions by the central government”. will be confiscated.”

He added that any future reform should include “appropriate engagement and consultation with the unions”.

Stephen Walsh QC, representing London Fire Commissioner Andy Rowe, who was appointed in January 2020, said Mr Rowe was clear that larger organizations should “always develop policy processes through learning from experience”.

He added that the brigade will cope with any challenge it faces.

“The foremost consideration of the Commissioner of London Fire is to protect the safety of Londoners in case of fire and other emergencies.

“The interests of the bereaved, survivors and residents of Grenfell Tower are at the heart of the LFB’s continued commitment to learning from the tragic events of June 14 and effecting meaningful change wherever possible.”

Mr Friedman told the panel that the fire regulatory system and the fire service “need fixing.”

He added: “Until this happens, people who live in high-rise social housing will continue to be at significant risk.

“Grenfell Tower showed them (to be) least likely to be safe from fire and most likely to rely on an effective fire service response.

“The LFB (London Fire Brigade) was brave at Grenfell Tower but it was not effective.

“There was a time and a place in this investigation to deal with containment and austerity.

“But fire service leadership and fire brigade unions need to introspect far more than they currently do to acknowledge how they may be more part of the solution than the problem.”

Leslie Thomas QC, who represented a different group of bereaved people, survivors and residents, said the evidence revealed in the investigation showed the London Fire Brigade “is in urgent need of reform”.

He told the panel: “Our clients are concerned that the London Fire Brigade is an institution unable to repair itself from within … Given the public safety implications, this overhaul cannot wait.”

Mr Thomas called for appropriate funding from the government for the fire service to aid in its transformation, saying: “Safety in life cannot be sacrificed at the altar of penance.”

Anne Studd QC, representing London Mayor Sadiq Khan, told the investigation that since the creation of the LFB’s governing body, the London Fire Commissioner in April 2018, “more direct oversight and investigation” is now being carried out by the mayor.

He said that 18 of the 29 recommendations made by the panel in the first phase report have been completed and Mr Khan is working to implement the rest.

In addition, Mr Khan was calling for a “sustainable annual increase in funding” to carry out fire safety activity on buildings across London until they are safe.

Martin Seward QC, representing the fire brigade union, told the investigation that the union supported some aspects of fire service reform, but warned any further structural reform “with the opportunity of further reductions by the central government”. will be confiscated.”

He added that any future reform should include “appropriate engagement and consultation with the unions”.

Stephen Walsh QC, representing London Fire Commissioner Andy Rowe, appointed in January 2020, said Mr Rowe…

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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