My full statement on the Grenfell Tower report
The Grenfell Tower fire was an appalling tragedy and Londoners will always remember the 72 people who lost their lives in a fire that should never have happened. I want to pay tribute to the survivors, bereaved and the community for the determination they have shown to secure change. We owe it to the people who died, their loved ones and those who survived to ensure that no fire like that ever happens again in this country.
The Inquiry report shows that our firefighters and other emergency services showed incredible courage and bravery, working in the most challenging of conditions, in what was a catastrophic building failure.
The firefighters that attended that night, and those in the control room at London Fire Brigade, were overwhelmed by the unprecedented nature of the fire. None of them had ever experienced a fire of this nature and scale. It wasn’t their fault that a building designed for people to safely ‘stay put’ in their homes was so fatally compromised.
The report is clear there are significant lessons to learn for London Fire Brigade. While institutional failures meant that the overall response to the disaster was not good enough, every single person who attended that night did so to save lives. I personally will do everything within my power to ensure that the Inquiry’s recommendations are implemented, and I will be relentless in holding to account those responsible for implementing the remaining recommendations.
The Brigade has shown its commitment to making real improvements following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower and I have made sure the Commissioner has the funding she has requested to make those changes, including the introduction of smoke hoods, drones, better personal protective equipment and alarm systems that allow firefighters to monitor building stability, as well as the purchase of new aerial appliances.
I am supporting the Brigade’s efforts to persuade the Government to introduce sprinklers in high-rise buildings and extend the ban on combustible cladding to all buildings, but sadly this has fallen on deaf ears so far and Ministers have failed to act quickly on what is clearly a national emergency.
I believe London Fire Brigade’s call for the Government to carry out urgent research into what the public and firefighters should do when a building fails is the right one, so that we can all have complete clarity and confidence in this approach.
Finally, I want to speak directly to the communities who were affected on that awful night: as Mayor I will continue to champion you and advocate on your behalf to secure the changes we need to prevent a disaster like this from ever happening again.