Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Luke Phimister 01708 434619 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS
To receive (if any)
Apologies were received from Lucy Goodfellow and Councillor Judith Holt.
DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
Members are invited to disclose any interests in any of the items on the agenda at this point of the meeting. Members may still declare an interest in an item at any time prior to the consideration of the matter.
There were no disclosures of interests.
The Chairman will announce details of the arrangements in case of fire or other events that might require the meeting room or building’s evacuation.
The Sub-Committee, along with Places Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee colleagues, were presented with information following the Wennington wildfires on 19th July 2022.
Before the presentation started, the Sub-Committee noted a letter by Rev’d Peterson, Vicar of Wennington Parish Church who could not attend the meeting.
Officers of the council began by giving their presentation where it was explained to members that the fires experienced were the worst local catastrophe in over 600 years with 18 houses totally destroyed and 1 left inhabitable. 200 residents were displaced which included 100 council staff, all of which were invited to attend ‘one stop shops’ for help, for example GP consultations. Of the 200 displaced residents there were a large range of disabilities which had all been catered for. It was also noted that a high number of personal documents, for example passports, birth and marriage certificates, deeds for homes, had been destroyed and the Council was working with residents to reobtain them.
A fire recovery board had been established a week after the fire with a high level of communication between the Council and the effected residents. Officers undertook regular walkabouts within the affected community to uphold the communication. The Council collaborated with multiple providers to arranged free gas and electric checks. A full position on the repair and rebuilding of homes could not be given due to some of the affected homeowners not having the correct, or any insurance. A mechanism for donations was agreed and the money was split across all affected residents based on criteria which was deemed largely successful.
It was noted that the Council had suffered a direct cost of around £100,000 but this would not be reimbursed by central government as it was not enough of a cost to meet the criteria which displeased Councillors.
In the aftermath of the fires, the Council alongside volunteer groups searched for lost or displaced pets for residents and helped them collect personal belongings from cars within the affected areas. Members of the Sub-Committee were pleased to hear how helpful the Council had been and commended the local ward Councillors on how they reacted to the situation given the fact they had only just been elected as new Councillors.
After the Council officers gave their presentation, the Sub-Committee welcomed officers from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) who also presented information to the Sub-Committee.
It was explained that on the day of the fires, the LFB received 2469 calls and attended 359 incidents which is a huge increase of the average. The LFB declared the Wennington site a major incident which is extremely rare. The LFB officers described the equipment used to contain and put out the wildfire, which included a hose with pre-prepared holes to create a wall of water to preserve life and buildings. LFB firefighters undergo enhanced wildfire response training and the LFB have introduced wildfire officers, of which Havering have 2, and 30 tactical advisors. Members were pleased to hear learnings had been made by the LFB from ... view the full minutes text for item 56.