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Grenfell recommendations – DR UK open statement

25 March 2021

Almost four years after the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died, including Disabled people, the Government has still not implemented the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations relating to the safety of Disabled people in high-rise buildings in the event of fire.

This week, Disability Rights UK has circulated an Open Statement to MPs (PDF) involved in the Fire Safety Bill calling on them to implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations relating to Disabled people.

DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “There appears to be strong resistance from some within the housing sector and fire service, to putting in the basic protections that Disabled residents need in the event of fire.

“Building owners and managing agents in the private and public housing sectors, rightly need to keep buildings well maintained and up to modern safety standards. Ensuring that there are evacuation plans for Disabled residents who cannot self-evacuate in the event of fire. These should be viewed as part of their safety obligations.”

The Grenfell Tower fire was on 14 June 2017. In October 2019 the recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry were published. Having heard expert evidence, the Chair of the Inquiry, Martin Moore-Bick recommended that building owners and managers should have legal duties to produce evacuation plans for buildings and Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for Disabled people who were unable to self-evacuate in the event of fire.

In 2020 the government produced a consultation document, which failed to include a recommendation to implement Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans. This was challenged by Judicial Review and the government agreed to hold a new consultation on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans. This is expected to commence in May/June this year.

In February 2021 the British Standards Institute produced guidance, which again didn’t uphold the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans. Following the threat of Judicial Review, this guidance has been withdrawn.