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Huge fine for Southwark over lethal fire

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Southwark LBC has been fined £270,000 and must pay £300,000 in legal costs after it pleaded guilty to charges over a fire in which six people died.

The council was sentenced today at Southwark Crown Court for offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire) Safety Order in a prosecution brought by London Fire Brigade.

It said the charges concerned deficiencies in fire safety at the council-owned 15-storey Lakanal House, where the blaze broke out on the ninth floor in July 2009.

Subsequent investigations suggested the cause was an electrical fault in a TV set.

Stephanie Cryan (Lab), cabinet member for housing, said: “We took the decision to plead guilty…because, as an authority, we fully accept responsibility for the fire safety of all our council homes. The fact remains that the council did not have a fire risk assessment for Lakanal in place on this date. Without this record, we can never categorically decide on the fire safety of the building before the fire happened.”

She said Southwark has since spent £62m on a fire risk assessment programme and associated works.

Brigade assistant commissioner for fire safety Dan Daly said: “Bringing this prosecution against Southwark council has been about ensuring lessons are learned so we can reduce the likelihood of such a devastating fire ever happening again.”




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