Grenfell fire safety reform delay putting lives at risk – Sadiq Khan

The Government is “putting lives at risk” by not implementing changes recommended by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry fast enough, London’s mayor has said.

Sadiq Khan accused building owners and the Government of “failing” the Grenfell community over the lack of progress, adding he shared concerns that a similar tragedy could happen again.

His comments come almost a year after inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick identified 46 changes that should be made to ensure the safety of residents in high-rise buildings.

Police officer shot
Police officer shot

Mr Khan said the Government had not provided a timed delivery plan for the changes it was responsible for implementing.

He said: “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.”

Mr Khan, who has called for a ban on combustible cladding to be extended to all buildings, said the Government “must not wait” to implement the reforms “needed to fix a broken system”.

The 46 recommendations made in the first phase of the inquiry touched on how buildings are designed, constructed, approved and managed and how fire and rescue services respond.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said in September that fire safety reforms would be introduced in the “fastest possible time”, amid Labour concerns over progress made since the tragedy.

Of the 29 recommendations made to London Fire Brigade, four have so far been completed, including the introduction of smoke hoods to aid in rescues.

The mayor’s office said work had “significantly progressed” on all the brigade’s remaining recommendations, with the majority due to be completed by March next year.

Tower block fire in London
Tower block fire in London

London fire commissioner Andy Roe said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

Seventy-two people died in the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14 2017.

An electrical fault with a fridge-freezer sparked the catastrophic fire.

The Grenfell Inquiry’s phase one report, published on October 30 2019, found the tower’s cladding did not comply with building regulations and was the “principal” reason for the fire’s rapid spread.