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Updated Statement - Grenfell Tower

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said:

“On behalf of everyone at Islington Council, we send our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the dreadful fire at Grenfell Tower. We would also like to thank all of the emergency services for their swift response.  

“Understandably, this tragic incident has prompted concerns about the cause of the fire, how it was able to spread so quickly and whether there are any possible implications for Islington residents.

“London Fire Brigade (LFB) who responded swiftly and in great numbers to the incident have said that the cause of the fire is not yet clear, nor why it spread so quickly.  LFB have also stressed that people living in high rise properties are no more at risk of a fire starting than anyone else, and that living in a flat is not more dangerous than living in a house.

“Islington Council always follows the most up to date advice on all aspects of building safety. I am confident that we have good and robust management of our housing stock, including tower blocks. Since 2013 the council has spent £7 million on its fire risk assessment programme and associated fire safety works for all its council housing in the borough, and a further £38million of works is programmed. Any lessons emerging from Grenfell Tower will be acted upon swiftly and comprehensively, as happened following the tragic fire at Lakanal House, Camberwell, in 2009. Where necessary, we will also ensure specifications for future works include any amended advice following the Grenfell Tower fire.

“The Council has a robust Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) programme, with some blocks assessed annually and every block reassessed at least once every three years. Local Area Housing Office staff carry out regular inspections which include fire safety issues. The Council’s fire safety arrangements are also monitored by the Homes and Estates Safety Board, which meets on a quarterly basis and is attended by a member of LFB.

“I would urge everyone to take a few moments today to check their smoke alarm is working, and ensure you know how you would leave your property in the event of a fire. Make sure that bikes or rubbish don’t obstruct communal exits, keep balconies free of clutter, and always dispose of cigarette ends carefully. If you live in a flat or a maisonette have a look at the Fire Brigade’s advice online at: http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/know-the-plan.asp

“Islington Council stands ready to help Kensington and Chelsea council in whatever way we can.”

Additional information - added on 16 June:

  • Islington Council has put on hold all planned work to install cladding on council properties (Ilex House, Gambier House, Halliday House, Arlington House).

  • A programme of work has begun to assess all high rise blocks in the borough, including privately owned premises. 

  • Islington Council has offered assistance to help firefighters and residents affected by the Grenfell Tower fire including offering accommodation, counselling and providing staff to assist with rest centres. 

  • On Tuesday 20 June the Housing Scrutiny committee will receive an update from the council's housing service in response to the Grenfell Tower fire.