Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 18:52 UK

Fire checks urged on tower blocks

Woman looking at Lakanal House
Southwark Council said the enforcement notices are "unnecessary"

A council that owns a tower block where six people died in a fire has been served a legal order to carry out safety checks on three other buildings.

Southwark Council has said safety measures were already being implemented on the three tower blocks.

But the London Fire Brigade said the blocks still fail to comply with safety regulations and served the council with an enforcement notice.

Six people died in the fire in Lakanal House in Camberwell on 3 July.

The new notices, served by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), concern three blocks, Marie Curie, Perronet and Castlemead.

The council is legally obliged to take corrective actions within a set timescale
LFEPA spokesman

An LFEPA spokesman said: "The enforcement notices served on Southwark Council state that in our opinion the buildings concerned fail to comply with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order.

"The council is legally obliged to take corrective actions within a set timescale."

The spokesman said he was unable to confirm whether they had previously reminded the council to take action before the need for an enforcement notice.

The council said it was "saddened" by LFEPA's actions.

'Disproportionate' action

Councillor Paul Noblet said: "We agreed a schedule of works in partnership with them three weeks ago and are already working on all three buildings.

"The action taken seems disproportionate when there are hundreds of blocks like the ones in question up and down the country."

Southwark Council has previously released files showing it knew in 2000 that Lakanal House posed a risk of rapid fire spread but did nothing for seven years.

Marie Curie House, one of the buildings covered by the enforcement notice, is identical to Lakanal House.

The council has also faced stiff criticism from residents who say it does not carry out fire drills or take fire safety seriously.



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