Grenfell 5th anniversary: Lib Dems call for public enquiry

It’s half a decade since we watched in horror as the Grenfell Tower fire took hold. At the time the Government promised that such a tragedy would never happen again, but in England alone, 10,000 buildings are still considered unsafe. Imagine the stress of being trapped in such a building, scared that it could go on fire at any time.

To mark the fifth anniversary, Lib Dem Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper and peer Kath Pinnock had called for a statutory public enquiry with the power to summon witnesses to give evidence under oath and demand disclosure of any relevant evidence.

Daisy Cooper said:

The horrific events which led to the loss of 72 people five years ago today will never be forgotten.

After the tragedy of Grenfell, this Conservative Government said ‘never again’. Yet five years on, tens of thousands of people are still trapped in homes which aren’t safe and they cannot sell, and lessons have not been learned.

Families living in homes with unsafe cladding and other dangerous fire safety defects are facing unimaginable stress and anxiety while the remediation programme stutters along at a glacial pace.

It’s simply shameful that five years down the line from this tragic disaster, the big changes needed to stop it from happening again simply have not happened.

A separate public inquiry into the Government’s handling of this building safety crisis is frankly long overdue and is nothing less than what those still living in unsafe homes deserve.

Kath Pinnock said:

My thoughts today are with those families who were left devastated by the loss of a loved one during the Grenfell Tower fire and with all of those families who are still stuck in unsafe buildings through no fault of their own.

The Conservatives have been failing to force implementation of fire and building safety laws for five years. Their failure to act quickly and decisively in bringing relief to thousands of leaseholders trapped in a nightmare is one of the great stains on this Government.

With every day that passes, the prospect of another disaster like Grenfell remains. Liberal Democrats will keep fighting to end the building safety scandal and keep fighting for justice for leaseholders and tenants.

 

 

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5 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jun '22 - 5:32pm

    The reactions to this are correct. The govt is appallingly slow. All tenants should be re-housedimediately, literally, in the buildings that govt can and should release or in a draconian yet sensible policy, requisition.

    But those who care, ought to recognise something. Having researched this, much of the cause of this is considred to be the priority on climate targets, that put insuation before health and safety. The cladding faults were a substance that is so good for insulation, it ignored the more obvious consideration of it being good against fire.

    Too much emphasis on isulation and climate and little on the wider agenda of well being and safety.

    Insulate Britain, yes, but not at the expense of imediate and necessary standards.

  • Brad Barrows 14th Jun '22 - 6:29pm

    Just a comment about what Kath Pinnock said…

    Is not enforcement of Fire and Building Standards a matter for local government?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jun ’22 – 5:32pm:
    Having researched this, much of the cause of this is considered to be the priority on climate targets, that put insulation before health and safety.

    Also due to cost cutting…

    ‘Unravelling the real story behind the Grenfell tragedy should be tackled now, not in November’ [May 2018]:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/27/unravelling-real-story-behind-grenfell-tragedy-should-tackled/

    This problem had first come to light after two previous tower-block fires in 1989 and 1999, when that inquiry led to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) producing a new British Standard, BS8414. This was to replace the existing “single burn” fire safety test, which only required each material involved in refurbishing tower blocks to be tested separately, with a new “whole system test”, to determine how they all acted together in combination.

    But in 2002 the EU had become so preoccupied with the need for better insulation of buildings, as a way of reducing CO2 emissions to combat global warming, that it issued a directive concerned only with maximum “thermal efficiency”. On fire safety it required only the dangerously inadequate “single burn test”.

    The British were still free to use their BS8414 test if they wished. But under EU law this could not be made mandatory and it was significantly more expensive. So, unsurprisingly, with thousands of tower blocks needing external refurbishment, councils went for the cheaper option.

    …the fact is that if the BRE’s BS8414 test had been properly applied – as subsequent demonstrations confirmed – that dreadful conflagration would never have happened.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jun '22 - 10:11pm

    Yes Jeff, thanks!

  • Laurence Cox 15th Jun '22 - 12:08am

    You can also watch on the All4 service, the film of the play about the Grenfell Inquiry. Having seen the play when it was performed at the Tabernacle Theatre in Notting Hill, I found it very moving as it made it very clear where the faults lay. The film is introduced by Jon Snow.

    https://www.channel4.com/programmes/grenfell

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