Rebecca Evans, Minister for Housing and Regeneration
This statement alerts Members to the publication of the final report to the UK Government of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt.
The independent review was commissioned as part of the UK Government’s immediate response to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower last June. I welcome the publication of the final report, which builds on the interim conclusions published earlier this year.
As I set out in my letter of 21 March, we continue to work closely with the UK Government and across the Welsh Government as we consider the need for changes in light of the Grenfell tragedy.
Whilst Dame Judith’s recommendations are directed to the UK Government, given the broadly similar context in which we in Wales are working they provide us with a robust and useful basis on which to develop our own long-term, robust approach to building safety. Our approach will be one which has at its heart the well-being and safety of residents in Wales.
I would like to place on record my thanks to Dame Judith Hackitt for the review team’s engagement with the Welsh Government and stakeholders in Wales during the formative stages of the review.
Dame Judith’s report is challenging, and rightly so given the scale of the tragedy which prompted it. The report makes a number of very significant, high-level findings and recommendations. These would have a profound impact across a number of portfolio areas, for many organisations in the public and private sectors, and indeed for residents themselves. We now need to properly scrutinise, consider and respond. This does not however mean undue delay or a lack of commitment to taking necessary actions. In considering the recommendations in detail we will continue to adopt the same cross-Welsh Government approach we have taken since the fire at Grenfell Tower. I will continue to liaise with the Cabinet Secretaries for Local Government and Public Services, and for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. We will also continue to engage with our United Kingdom Government counterparts. These are, however, primarily devolved matters and we will of course take forward the recommendations in ways that reflect the best interests and, ultimately, safety and well-being of the people of Wales.
I will continue to keep Members informed of our response to this wide-ranging review. I am also taking this opportunity to share with Members the ‘position statement’ and recommendations of the Fire Safety Advisory Group, established by the Welsh Government following the fire at Grenfell Tower. The recommendations chime with those of the Independent Review, the fire safety elements of which I have asked the Advisory Group to consider. I will continue to share this information and our response.