Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
July 18, 2023


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High court judgement appears to confirm Government decision to not implement PEEP recommendations

A High Court judgement appears to have confirmed the Government’s view that implementing a Grenfell Inquiry recommendation on mandating Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) in high-rise buildings would be too costly and impractical to implement.

Evac+Chair-InUseDisabledStairwell-23jpgAs a result, Claddag, the disability campaign group fighting for PEEPs to be made a legal requirement for those who might not be able to get out of buildings safely, has lost its High Court battle with the Government.

The group was calling on the Government to legally mandate PEEPs – a key recommendation from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

41% of those who died at the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 were disabled, according to evidence from the Inquiry.

The Home Office had initially indicated it was against mandating PEEPs in an announcement in May 2022. In November, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, Michael Gove, also said the Government would “look again” at its position.

However, the High Court verdict appears to suggest that this was now a final decision, despite Home Office legal representatives having previously argued that it was still consulting on the proposals.

According to a statement on Claddag’s website, the Judge found a decision had been “conclusively made not to implement the PEEPs recommendations”.

Reasons for the decision are said to relate to cost and practicalities.

Instead, an alternative idea is being pursued of Emergency Evacuation Information Sharing Plus.

“A political decision… to prioritise money over disabled persons’ lives”

The Judge, Mrs Justice Stacey, concluded that it was not for a Court to adjudicate on the differences of views and opinions between Inquiry experts and landlords and property owners, though noted how “bitterly disappointing” it was for claimants and others for PEEPs recommendations not to be implemented.

The response of Sarah Rennie and Georgie Hulme, the founders of Claddag, highlights this disappointment.

In a statement on Claddag’s website, they commented: “The Court’s judgment makes clearer than ever to us and our community that a political decision has been made by this Government to leave disabled and older people living in high rise buildings without means of escape.

“It is a decision taken without listening to the experts and persons with lived experience who hold the answers to perceived practical difficulties. It is a decision to prioritise money over disabled persons’ lives.

“And it is a decision not to learn the lessons of the disproportionate deaths of disabled persons in the Grenfell Tower fire as identified by the Chair of the public inquiry.

“However, this case has sparked a national conversation. Our supporters within the housing sector and fire safety industry have noted a significant shift in thinking on this issue over the last 12 months and the inhumane ‘stay put’ mantra has, at long last, lost its dangerous grip.

“We thank our legal team for their unwavering dedication together with Law for Change and everyone who has supported us to pursue this judicial review. Our small part in the pursuit of justice will continue.”

Speaking at FIREX in May, a case study presentation was given on how PEEPs have been put in place by East Suffolk council.

Rounding off the session, Elspeth Grant, Specialist PEEPS Advisor and Trainer, reminded everyone that PEEPs – if planned logically and sensibly – were “not rocket science.”


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