Grenfell inquiry demands ‘urgent' action from Boris Johnson over tower block fire safety

Posted On: 
30th October 2019

Boris Johnson must take “urgent action” over the Grenfell Tower inquiry's findings, its chair has said.

Grenfell tower, in north Kensington, London
Credit: 
PA Images

Sir Martin Moore-Bick said ministers had a “responsibility” to enact the recommendations from his long-awaited phase one report into the devastating blaze.

The fire left 72 people dead after it ripped through the west London building in the early hours of 14 June 2017.

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The document was highly critical of the London Fire Brigade and found more lives could have been saved were it not for a delay in revoking the “stay put” policy, where residents were told to remain in the building for nearly two hours after it started.

It also found that flammable cladding was the “principal” reason behind the fire’s rapid spread.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Martin said the 1,000-page report exposed the need for “urgent action to be taken by the Government and others who have responsibility for the oversight and direction of the emergency services, in particular the London Fire Brigade”.

“I look forward confidently to their implementation without delay,” he added.

Mr Johnson said that he hoped the findings of the inquiry would offer "some measure of comfort" to survivors and bereaved families.

"They asked for the truth. We promised them the truth. We owe them the truth. And, today, the whole country, the whole world, is finally hearing the truth about what happened," he added.

Sir Martin recommended that the Government now develops national guidelines for “carrying out partial or total evacuations of high-rise buildings”.

Following the report’s release, the fire service's chief Dany Cotton, expressed the brigade's "deepest sorrow" and said the “suffering of the bereaved, survivors and community will never be forgotten”.

“It was an unprecedented residential building fire, precipitated by significant failings of the building’s fire safety measures which created impossible conditions that residents and the emergency services must never be placed in again,” she said.

“We will now carefully and fully consider all of Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s Phase 1 report and take every action we can to improve public safety.

“Many of the recommendations are welcome and will need to be fully understood not only by London Fire Brigade, but by government, every fire and rescue service and every residential building owner and manager across the country.”

'SIGNIFICANT LESSONS TO LEARN'

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The report is clear there are significant lessons to learn for London Fire Brigade. 

“While institutional failures meant that the overall response to the disaster was not good enough, every single person who attended that night did so to save lives.”

And Liberal Democrat MP Sam Gyimah said: "The Government must fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, but also they cannot ignore those in private residential buildings.

"Grants should be provided so the cost isn’t passed onto tenants; the Government can be reimbursed later. The priority must be people’s safety."

Matt Wrack from the Fire Brigades Union said: “Warning after warning from previous fires were ignored; central government must now take responsibility for ensuring that recommendations are applied nationwide, not just in London; this has never simply been a matter for the London Fire Brigade.

“That change can only be achieved by establishing a new, credible and accountable body responsible for fire and rescue service policy in the UK.”