Letter in The Times, 14 June 2021

Sir, The shocking and preventable Grenfell Tower fire led to the loss of 72 lives and devastated thousands more. Four years on, accountability, justice and systemic change remain distant hopes. Residents warned of safety concerns and were ignored. Had recommendations about safety failures after previous tower block fires been acted upon, this catastrophic loss of life may have been averted.

With no enforcement mechanism in place to push through the 46 evidence-based recommendations for change in the October 2019 phase one report of the Grenfell Tower inquiry, the government’s response has been shamefully slow. Across the country, thousands are still living in fear in dangerous buildings clad in combustible material. This adds to the growing evidence for the need for a national oversight mechanism — an independent, arm’s length public body that can monitor implementation of inquiry recommendations and coroners’ reports on action to prevent deaths. The inquiry chairman should call in those responsible for his recommendations to report on their progress. The lasting legacy of Grenfell must be meaningful structural change. If we do not learn from our mistakes, avoidable risks to life remain.

Deborah Coles
, director, Inquest
Natasha Thompson
, Grenfell project co-ordinator, Inquest