Fire Brigades Union slams Government rejection of key Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations on PEEPs
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15 June 2022
The Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry recommended that the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to prepare Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for all disabled residents.
However, last month the Government rejected this recommendation and revealed downgraded plans, which have been largely criticised by Grenfell campaigners and disability rights campaigners.
The Government had promised to implement the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry Phase One recommendations in full.
In a letter to Lord Greenhalgh, Minister of State for Building Safety, Fire and Communities, dated Monday 6 June, Matt Wrack the general secretary of the FBU stated “The FBU was disappointed with the Westminster Government’s decision to downgrade work towards ensuring residents with disabilities are provided with PEEPs. The Government’s statement claims that implementation would involve significant issues with practicality, proportionality and safety. The FBU argues that resident safety is of paramount importance, so there is a greater safety issue in declining to implement PEEPs.”
Some reasons for the refusal seem poorly evidenced, for example stating that if a PEEP advised the purchase of an evacuation chair, there would be an impact on the good relations between disabled residents and non-disabled residents if disproportionate costs were passed on to the latter. Building owners should carry the costs.
According to Mr. Wrack, the Government’s decision is “a negative, backward step”. For its part, the FBU stands with disability campaigners, the Grenfell campaign groups and the Local Government Association in asking the Government to reconsider its decision.
15 out of 37 disabled Grenfell Tower residents sadly lost their lives in the tragic fire that occurred five years ago this month. The FBU represents the majority of the hundreds of firefighters and fire Control Room staff who were involved in the Grenfell response.
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