Government rejects compulsory Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)

Thu,7 April 2022
News Housing

The Government has decided not to implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendation that PEEPs must be supplied to all Disabled residents who can’t self-evacuate – despite the Prime Minister previously stating his commitment to delivering the Inquiry recommendations.

More than 40% of the Disabled residents of Grenfell Tower died in the fire, this was due to many not having access to a safe means of escape.

Lord Greenhalgh, Minister for Fire Safety, stated this week that “practicality”, “proportionality” and “safety” were all reasons why PEEPs could not be implemented. He suggested that the implementation of PEEPs could bring “excessive costs” to the taxpayer, “hinder others in evacuating” and prevent the fire service from fighting the fire.

The Government’s decision not only fails to uphold the Grenfell Inquiry recommendations, but it also fails to uphold several legal obligations – including the Fire Safety Order 2005, the Equality Act 2010, and Human Rights Act 1998.

The Fire Safety Order sets out the responsibility that building managers must protect all residents during fires and support them in their escape, while the Equality Act makes clear the illegality of discriminatory policies. The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) response to the Grenfell Inquiry also highlights how a refusal to protect residents in their escape from fire is a breach of all residents’ Right to Life, enshrined in the Human Rights Act.

DR UK has been working with the leaseholders campaign group, Claddag on this issue. Claddag’s full statement can be found on its website.

DR UK Policy and Campaigns Officer Bethany Bale said: “PEEPs are the only way to protect those who are unable to self-evacuate. Even if other methods could be used to uphold legal obligations, the Government has not offered any alternatives. Although the fire safety guidance no longer advises Disabled residents to ‘stay put’ in the case of a fire, it’s clear from this decision not to implement PEEPs that the Government believes that staying put is still the only option given to those who can’t self-evacuate. DR UK strongly opposes this stance.”