London fire: Government delayed review of tower block fire safety regulations after deadly blaze

Experts warned that the delay could lead to another deadly tower block fire

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 14 June 2017 09:25
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London fire: Flames engulf Grenfell Tower in Kensington

The government was warned earlier this year of the deadly danger posed by fire safety failings in tower blocks.

Experts said in March that after a review into building regulations, parliament should ask "really serious questions" about the safety of tower blocks and the danger posed by fire. The warnings have been restated after multiple people died in a fire in West London.

Housing minister Gavin Barwell had committed last year to review the specific part of building regulations that relate to fire safety. But that report was delayed earlier this year, Fire Risk Management reported in March, with a spokesperson then refusing to give a date for the launch of the review.

Mr Barwell is now Theresa May's chief of staff, after he lost his seat in the recent election.

That report was called for after a deadly fire in Lakanal House in South London. The resulting investigation found problems with fire risk assessments and the fire resistance of the building.

There are still 4,000 tower blocks that are under the same old building regulations as those in Lakanal House. It's not clear whether Grenfell Tower, where the horrific blaze broke out, was built according to those regulations.

Fire safety expert Sam Webb told the magazine at that time that "really serious questions" needed to be asked in parliament about fire safety. He pointed specifically to the kind of materials used in buildings, saying that they are "not fire-resistant and in some cases they're flammable.

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