Brighton and Hove Green Party Councillors have worked with the local Labour and Conservative Groups to secure a joint response to the disaster at Grenfell Tower. All three parties are calling on the Government to provide additional information and support to local authorities tasked with reviewing fire safety for residents. The proposals, which will be presented to a meeting of Full Council today (Thursday July 20), request a timescale for review of building regulations from the Secretary of State as well as a review of the guidance for housing providers on tenant participation and scrutiny.
The Green Group of Councillors have welcomed the initiative of all parties to work together on matters of fire safety but say there will still be unanswered questions that the Government must address.
Convenor of the Green Group, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, commented:
“The tragedy at Grenfell Tower shocked and horrified us all. We are glad that here in Brighton and Hove all parties have worked together to draw up a response that puts the safety of our residents first. It is hugely significant that the Deputy and Chief Fire Officers will be at Full Council this evening to bring us the latest update on work being done to ensure residents’ safety. Greens will continue to support the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority and Fire Brigades Union and hold the government to account.
“That said, there are still unanswered questions. We are especially concerned that residents in the private rented sector are offered little assurance as to the safety of their homes. School buildings, hospitals and business premises are also built with cladding and other potentially combustible materials. We insist tests must be carried out, and results be made public.”
Councillor Lizzie Deane, Green spokesperson on the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority added:
“The Conservative Government have taken an axe to consumer protections, including trading standards and housing regulations that were put in place to enshrine safety. Our Fire Service are also dealing with the prospect of cuts on top of cuts. We now also learn the terrible news that some survivors and people living close to the tower are suffering from toxic hydrogen cyanide in the air. The Government must urgently review their harmful, laissez-faire attitude to regulation if their claims about the importance of the safety of our residents are to be believed.”
In the week of the tragedy the Green Group raised a series of twelve questions with the Fire Authority and local Council on the safety measures in place in Brighton and Hove, covering inspections, regulation of local stock, audits and measures taken by the Fire and Rescue Service to respond to residents. Greens have also called on the Council to publish comprehensive details of the cladding and other materials used in tower blocks.
You can read the twelve questions put by the Green Group in response to Grenfell here: