Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower last month, a debate took place in the House of Commons on Wednesday 12th July on the inquiry into the fire.
Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group said:
“I pay immediate tribute to the local Member of Parliament, the hon. Member for Kensington (Emma Dent Coad). She has not been here very long, but in no time at all she has done her very best to support local residents. So I congratulate her, and I think that the House will come together at least on that point.
There are no words that are adequate to describe our feelings about this horror. The fire started on the fourth floor at one in the morning, when most of the residents were asleep. Within half an hour, a towering inferno took place. It was truly shocking to turn on our TV screens in the morning and see what had happened. This was just a month ago.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group had on a number of occasions expressed concerns to the Government that fire safety regulations need to be reviewed:
“Without prejudice to the public inquiry or the police criminal investigation, the all-party group…want to respond to the Secretary of State’s invitation to submit measures which can be put in place immediately to keep people safe”.”
“It is crazy that it is not mandatory for all new school buildings to have sprinklers fitted. We must address that, as a matter of urgency. Again, I hope that, if the Minister is not given the advice that I certainly want him to be given, he will make a contrary decision and recommend that all new school buildings have sprinklers fitted.”
The MP for Southend West concluded by making it clear to the Minister that more needs to be done to prevent disasters like the one at Grenfell Tower from happening again in the future:
“I want to highlight three points to my hon. Friend the Minister. The first is that building regulations no longer include a requirement for one-hour fire resistance for outside walls, as was the case under the London Building Acts. That has got to be corrected. Firefighters were horrified by the way this disaster took place. The second point relates to the testing of cladding. It costs £10,000 to fire-test a 30-metre cladded wall. Most testing is done on the desktop, which does not take into account materials used underneath or between cladding, such as wood. I hope my hon. Friend the Minister will look at that point. The last point is about the retrofitting of sprinklers over the past year: in 100% of cases where sprinklers have been activated, they have controlled or extinguished the fire. I welcome the fact that there is a public inquiry, but I again ask my hon. Friend the Minister not only to listen to the recommendations of the all-party group, but to act on them.”
You can view the full hansard report online at: