Statement on the Grenfell Tower fire, five years on 

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz OBE said :

“Today we mark 5 years since the fire at Grenfell Tower tragically took the lives of 72 people including 18 children.

“Five years on our thoughts are with all those who lost their lives in the Grenfell fire, and are hearts are with their families and loved ones. We remember them, and we stand with them in our resolve that such a preventable tragedy should never happen again. While we have acted, as a council, we are still waiting for action on the part of those private companies, owners and developers who still have blocks with ACM and other unsafe cladding in Newham. It is unacceptable to me that, residents in Newham live in fear of fire breaking out in their homes. The mental and financial strain of unresolved cladding issues is pushing many people close to breaking point as they could face severe financial hardship as well.

“Last week we launched our Newham Cladding Action campaign, supporting residents living in the private sector who face danger because of unsafe cladding and other fire safety risks in the flats they live in.

“I have written to all those companies, owners and developers of the 15,000 flats in the borough which still have unsafe cladding and other fire safety hazards and deficiencies, demanding that they act now to complete work to remove all unsafe cladding in blocks, and complete required fire safety works or face prosecution by Newham Council.

“I will not tolerate any further delays to the urgent and vital life-saving work required. The council has been leading the way on this issue and will continue to campaign for the full reimbursement of the cost of building defects arising from the Grenfell Enquiry.

“The council has removed all ACM cladding from the council’s tall blocks in Newham, accelerating the removal of non-ACM cladding and tackling the other safety measures across all our 16,000 council homes.

“The Government has said developers should pay for repairs to unsafe cladding work. Here in Newham we expect developers and private owners of buildings to do significantly more. 

“But progress on tall blocks, owned, developed or managed by companies operating in Newham, is simply not good enough. This is unacceptable and our residents deserve better.

“In my letter to them, I made it clear that they also need to pay for fire safety improvements and repair other defects that cladding remediation works, or surveys, may uncover – otherwise the council will pursue the strongest enforcement measures against them.

“Those in a position of responsibility must do the right thing, and where they do not we will challenge this, and act through enforcement and regulation to ensure that companies are doing everything that they can to fix this problem.

“The people of Newham deserve to live their lives with greater certainty, stability, and without fear of deadly unforeseen fires breaking out in the middle of the night.”

Read more about the Newham Cladding Action campaign. 

Published: 14 Jun 2022