Published June 14, 2019
The Fire Brigade Union have launched a Grenfell Never Again Campaign in conjunction with The Daily Mirror.
They want flammable cladding removed from all buildings and sprinklers retrofitted where appropriate.
The Fire Brigade Union are frustrated at the lack of progress being made following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, in which 72 people lost their lives.
Two years on from the disaster and building identified as being clad in the same dangerous material have still not been made safe – whilst other forms of cladding have also been identified as being at risk.
Despite widespread calls for sprinklers to be retrofitted there has been no change in the legal position, meaning only buildings built since 2007 and above 30m in height are required to have sprinklers fitted.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The second anniversary of Grenfell must be a moment of both heartfelt reflection and determined action.
“We have seen 72 lives tragically lost, in a wholly preventable blaze, all while desperately under-resourced firefighters risked their own lives to save others.
“Firefighters and control room staff never want to see a fire like that again, and are calling on the government to take immediate action.
“In the time since the fire, the government’s facile approach has utterly failed all those involved that night and the thousands of people who are at risk across the country.
“After two years, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has delivered no answers and we are no closer to tackling any of the underlying causes of the tragedy.
“As things stand, we risk sleepwalking into another catastrophic loss of life. We demand urgent action from government to ensure that the events of Grenfell Tower can never happen again.”
The campaign has been launched in conjunction with Daily Mirror with backing from Grenfell campaign group Justice4Grenfell; Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London; and John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary.
Firefighters will join tonight’s monthly Grenfell Silent Walk and will march alongside community activists in the solidarity march tomorrow. The FBU is a core participant in the ongoing Grenfell inquiry.
The campaign has five goals:
- Remove flammable cladding from all tower blocks and public buildings. There are still 328 residential and public buildings using the same cladding as that on the Grenfell Tower, and at least 1,700 with other potentially combustible claddings, including hospitals, care homes and schools as well as high rises.
- Retrofit sprinklers in high rises and schools, wherever a risk assessment deems them necessary. Coroners’ reports have called for sprinkler systems to be fitted, but so far only 32 out of 837 council tower blocks over 30m tall have sprinklers.
- Ensure tenants are given a real voice in the running and upkeep of their buildings. Grenfell tenants say their concerns about materials used in the refurbishment were ignored by Kensington and Chelsea council. Tenants’ right should be strengthened and democratically-elected groups given a direct say.
- Reverse the cuts to firefighter numbers and Fire Safety Officers. In 2016-17, the government spent £1,013m on fire services. But in 2019-20, it will only spend £858m. Every single fire authority has seen the amount it receives in central government funding cut in the last three years.
- Create a new independent national body to oversee standards and best practices in fire and rescue services across the country. There is no national body to oversee fire and rescue service and fire policy. This means standards vary across authorities and lessons are not being learned. Minimum standards should be set for response times and crewing levels.
The “Grenfell: Never Again” campaign aims to pressure government to take decisive action to tackle the underlying risks which caused the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower. You can sign the petition here.
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