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Survivors warn PM of ‘deep and grave concern’ over risk of another ‘Grenfell-like’ fire

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have written to Boris Johnson warning of their “grave concern that a Grenfell-like fire is going to occur again”.

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Picture: Lucy Brown
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Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have written to Boris Johnson warning of their “grave concern that a Grenfell-like fire is going to occur again” #ukhousing #EndOurCladdingScandal

Grenfell survivors warn the prime minister of “grave concern” over a repeat of deadly blaze #ukhousing #EndOurCladdingScandal

The Grenfell United group, which represents the bereaved and survivors of the fire that happened in June 2017, told the prime minister of its “conviction” that another serious fire would happen “unless you act”.

The group raised concerns about the slow pace of remediation of other buildings with the aluminium composite material cladding found on the west London tower. Just 318 of 436 affected buildings have been remediated.


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They also warned of a failure to identify risks to building below 18m or those clad with combustible materials different to the type found on Grenfell Tower.

There are an estimated 100,000 medium-rise buildings in the UK which slip below the 18m threshold, none of which are in the current government safety programme.

The letter, which was also forwarded to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, said: “We write to raise our deep and grave concerns that a Grenfell-like fire is going to occur again. There have been eight residential fires since Grenfell, each more serious than the last.

“It is our conviction that a serious fire in the UK, leading to loss of life, will occur in a building wrapped in combustible materials unless you act.”

It called on the government to “take responsibility for this crisis” and referred to the actions of the Victorian state government in Australia which has established a government taskforce and a building safety fund to identify and remediate buildings.

“It is deeply frustrating that the government of the country where Grenfell happened had taken less decisive action,” said the letter.


Related Files

Grenfell United Letter 3 Dec PM.pdfPDF, 140 KB

Of the eight major residential fires since Grenfell, five have occurred this year. The most recent – at student accommodation The Cube in Bolton – occurred in a building clad with high-pressure laminate panels and narrowly below the 18m height threshold.

The letter called for this fire to be the “final warning”. “We make this ask in memory of the 72 loved ones we lost to the Grenfell fire. We must not let anyone else suffer what they suffered,” it said.

“We must make sure their deaths are not in vain. It is too late to save our loved ones, but it is not too late to save others.”

Grenfell United is a supporter of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign – established by Inside Housing alongside residents of affected blocks – to call on the government to take more decisive action to end the cladding crisis.

The campaign calls for a building safety fund which is not limited to buildings above 18m with aluminium composite material cladding, and a national taskforce with the power to inspect buildings, prioritise the work and order its completion.

An spokesperson for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Resident safety is of the utmost priority and the government has acted urgently to ensure residents are safe in their homes. It has banned combustible materials on the external walls of new high-rise homes, tested a number of non-ACM materials and provided £600m to fund fully the remediation of unsafe ACM cladding on social and private high-rise buildings.

“Building owners must ensure their residents are safe in their homes and we have told owners how to check the type of cladding on their buildings. All cladding systems that do not meet strict building safety standards should be removed.”

It said councils have been asked to audit all buildings above 18m and provide information by March 2020.

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