Further to court action against the Government and our open letter, the Government has been forced to think again on whether disabled people have the right to an evacuation plan within blocks of flats. It has launched a consultation.
We fully support the proposal to require evacuation plans (PEEPs) for disabled people. However, we fear that the process will become a meaningless tick box exercise.
- Everyone should have an evacuation plan for emergencies. Under the proposal, disabled people living on higher floors will be excluded simply because their overall building does not meet the arbitrary building height.
- It is wrong to put the onus on disabled people to ‘self identify’ as needing an evacuation plan. This will do nothing to encourage landlords and agents to actively raise the issue with disabled residents.
- There is no mention of the costs of evacuation aids. Building owners need to take responsibility for buildings which were not designed with an inclusive evacuation strategy. Alternatively, the Government must set up a central funding mechanism. Charging disabled people for their means of escape is wrong.
The deadline to respond is 19 July 2021. Examples of lived experience is invaluable so please encourage any groups and individuals to share these as part of the consultation.
If you would like to see a copy of our draft response, please see below.