Stringent fire safety requirements for new buildings will feature in mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s draft London Plan, published later today (Wednesday 29).
New measures in the draft London Plan, which sets out the mayor’s vision for the future of the capital, will introduce firm post-Grenfell planning requirements for new buildings: for example, fire safety features such as sprinklers and fire evacuation lifts will have to be incorporated into a building’s design from the outset.
An independent fire statement carried out by a third-party assessor will be needed to accompany all major planning applications, and it will set out exactly how the high standards will be achieved.
Until now, it has been possible for developers to avoid addressing fire safety issues until the building application has reached a stage when it becomes hard to incorporate new changes. The final London Plan published next year will incorporate any new changes which come out of the Hackitt review and the Grenfell public inquiry.
“The safety of Londoners is my first priority and it is absolutely essential that we learn every lesson we can from the terrible Grenfell tragedy, and do everything within our power to make sure nothing like it can happen again,” said Khan.
However Specialist Engineering Contractors Group chief executive Rudi Klein said while Khan’s proposals are positive, they do not go far enough.
“It’s not just an issue of more regulation, it’s an issue first of all of proper enforcement,” he said, adding there should be a licencing system for firms working in fire safety.
“A more radical approach is required for this than just simply a few more regulations to tighten things up.”
Khan will also use the plan to set out strong opposition to fracking in London, advising boroughs to refuse planning permission to fracking schemes, whether for production or just exploration of shale gas.
Public health risks from contaminated water supplies and toxic dusts from construction, as well as potential water shortages due to the volume required for fracking, are given as reasons to refuse permission.
Energy campaigner for Greenpeace Elisabeth Whitebread said: “The Mayor of London should be congratulated for taking such a strong stance against fracking, which as well as being environmentally destructive is also an economic uncertainty and an irrelevance for UK energy security.”
A consultation on the draft London Plan will run from 1 December until 2 March 2018.