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DR UK: PEEPs must be non-negotiable outcome of post-Grenfell consultation

12 May 2021

After almost two months of delay, the Government has responded to DR UK’s calls about a national lack of legally enforceable Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for Disabled people living in tower blocks by inviting us to participate in a consultation.

After the first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry, the Government committed to greater safety measures but has thus far been dragging its feet. 72 people died, nearly half of whom were Disabled people and children and 85% of whom were from non-white backgrounds.

The correspondence we received from the Home Office said: “The Fire Safety Bill… is a necessary first step to ensure we have a firm foundation to bring forward legislation necessary to implement a number of the Inquiry’s recommendations calling on new duties on building owners and managers for information sharing on cladding and inspection of fire doors.

“The Government’s commitment to implementing the Grenfell Inquiry’s recommendations remains undimmed. It is important that we get this right and ensure the voice of residents and those likely to be affected by the proposals are heard. That is why we have decided to undertake a new consultation this spring to seek additional views on the complex issue of personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs).”

DR UK’s Fazilet Hadi said: “Phase One of the Grenfell Inquiry, which reported in October 2019, proposed the following recommendations:

  • That the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to draw up and keep under regular review evacuation plans, copies of which are to be provided in electronic and paper form to their local fire and rescue service and placed in an information box on the premises;
  • That the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to prepare personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs) for all residents whose ability to self-evacuate may be compromised (such as persons with reduced mobility or cognition);
  • That the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to include up-to-date information about persons with reduced mobility and their associated PEEPs in the premises information box. 

“The Fire Safety Bill unfortunately addresses none of these issues. We wrote to Government before the Bill received Royal Assent at the end of April, to insist that these points were included.

“We are well aware that industry is lobbying to ensure that government thinks PEEPs are complex and impractical. The creation and enforcement of PEEPs must be non-negotiable. The cogs of change are moving far too slowly on this, as the recent fire at New Providence Wharf in Poplar shows.

“We implore the Government to listen to Disability groups, to those who survived, and those who lost loved ones in the Grenfell fire, and those who had to use smoke-filled stairwells in absolute life-wrecking terror from Poplar, including older people and children on higher floors. We must ensure that we never again have to hear of people being effectively put to death with ‘stay put’ policies borne of zero advance safety planning.”