Grenfell inquiry opens

Grenfell inquiry opens

THE INQUIRY into the fire in June will examine the cause and spread of the fire, high rise regulations and the actions of the local authority.

BBC reported on the inquiry launch, noting that today’s events will include the head of the inquiry, Sir Martin Moor-Bick, giving a 45 minute statement ‘watched by residents and victims’. On this first day, ‘no evidence will be heard’, while an interim report is expected to be published by Easter 2018. The inquiry will also look at the actions of Kensington and Chelsea Council, which ‘operated the block’, and was ‘criticised for its immediate response’.

In full, the terms of reference for the inquiry include: the cause and spread of the fire; the design, construction and refurbishment of the tower; the ‘scope and adequacy of the relevant regulations’ relating to high rises; whether those regulations, legislation and guidance ‘were complied with’; the actions of Kensington and Chelsea Council ‘and other bodies’ before the fire; and the response of London Fire Brigade to the fire, as well as the response of central and local government after.

Sir Martin’s statement will be delivered from the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London, with no questions taken afterwards, and survivors and victims’ families will gather at Notting Hill Methodist Church to watch his opening statement via videoscreen. BBC noted in turn that the inquiry ‘has yet to decide’ which witnesses would be granted ‘core participant status’, entitling them to see evidence and ‘suggest lines of questioning’.

The news outlet pointed out that Sir Martin’s appointment had led some of the survivors call for him ‘to stand down’, with Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad commenting that they needed someone they could trust, and not a ‘technocrat’ who lacked ‘credibility’. She added she was ‘doubtful’ the inquiry would answer important questions, including who was accountable, why the fire was ‘allowed to happen’, and how funding of social housing would change, alongside perception of social tenants.