Steve Rotheram has met with senior Liverpool city region fire and housing officials to discuss what steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of people living in tower blocks. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is overseeing an action plan to ensure a fire similar to the one that cost dozens of lives in Grenfell Tower tragedy in London will not happen in Merseyside.
Questions have been raised about whether cladding and other materials used in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower contributed to the disaster.
On Wednesday morning Mr Rotheram met with Merseyside’s chief fire officer, Mike Palin, the lead officer for housing on the combined authority as well as the chair of the authority’s housing association group, Barbara Spicer.
He said: “Following the shocking events in London last week, there is an entirely understandable public concern for the safety of residents of high rise tower blocks or in housing where materials might have been fitted that are similar to those potentially implicated.
“Between us we considered the whole process of fire risk assessments for residential properties across the city region, and a number of issues which have been raised since the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.
“I want to reassure residents through the city region that steps are being taken to ensure that the tragic events last week are not witnessed here.
“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) has conducted an immediate reassurance campaign to provide information to residents by visiting all high rise residential blocks over the weekend and delivering a range of communication via social media, web site and radio.
“MFRS is assisting with the co-ordination of an inspection programme with Local Authority housing teams to inspect all residential high rise blocks on a prioritised basis.”
The Metro Mayor added that housing associations throughout the city region have all worked with their own boards to confirm that fire risk assessments are suitable and sufficient.
They are also providing information about any properties which may have been clad in recent years.
Mr Rotherham added: “I have asked the chair of the Fire and Rescue Authority and the Mayoral Advisor on housing, working with local authority lead politicians to provide an immediate assessment as to how we think fire safety and building regulations could be strengthened.
“It is clear that there have been calls for improvement that have been ignored by the Government and I intend taking the matter up directly with Government Ministers as soon as possible.”
The Metro Mayor’s initiative relates to the five Merseyside districts covered by MFRS – Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral – and does not apply to Halton which is in Cheshire.