On Monday 3 July, I asked Sajid Javid MP – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – why the government had not provided resources to local authorities to retrofit sprinklers in tower blocks. This was a key recommendation of the coroner’s report into the Lakanal House fire in 2009. However, successive ministers have taken little action to help local councils to retrofit sprinkler systems.
Over the past two weeks I have visited tower blocks across Bristol West with Avon Fire Service and Bristol City Council. They have done an excellent job of reassuring residents and providing advice on fire safety (and I’d encourage anyone who is worried about fire safety to book a fire safety check with Avon Fire Service). But a number of residents are still clearly concerned and the government could choose to act now and offer to fund the retro fitting of sprinkler systems. Sadly the Secretary of State chose not to take the opportunity to provide that reassurance.
Over the past few weeks, I have been visiting tower blocks across my constituency with fire officers and housing officers. Residents remain very, very concerned. Frankly, they do not understand why the Government and successive Ministers appear to have ignored the recommendations of the coroner’s report on sprinklers following the Lakanal House fire. I would suggest that Ministers who are shaking their heads try visiting my constituents, standing on the 15th floor, and explaining in person to those residents why there are no sprinklers.
It is good that the hon. Lady has been visiting tower blocks in Bristol and I hope that she has been able to reassure some of her constituents. It is good to have MPs’ involvement. However, she is wrong about the recommendations on sprinklers in the coroner’s report on Lakanal House because they were implemented fully.
You can watch the exchange here: