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This was Shepherd's Court, a tower block in West London,
where a huge fire broke out in in August last year.
where a huge fire broke out in August last year.
In response to that blaze, London Fire Brigade wrote
to all local authorities in the capital.
BBC London has seen a copy of the letter, in which the LFB says
it believes that exterior panels on the building
Our political editor, Tim Donovan, has this special report.
Last August, mid-afternoon, filmed from a neighbouring block.
And one by one, just like a serpent, it was slithering upwards.
An 18-storey tower block in Shepherd's Bush, in West London.
From one floor, it goes to another floor.
You know, it was really horrific, the speed of it.
No-one died or was seriously injured.
Dozens of tenants were evacuated safely.
The fire was claimed to have started from a faulty
Today, the damage and the spread of that fire is still visible.
The repairs not yet done, the tenants who occupy these
Now, the fire started in this flat, on the seventh floor,
Now, firefighters would have expected to contain it.
They came up here, through the central stairwell.
The fire spread, the flames went up outside the building,
and came into this flat, one floor above.
Smoke also affected properties on one, two floors above here.
Well, a fire investigation suggested the panels around the windows
on the outside of the building warped, exposing combustible
In its letter to London boroughs in April, the Fire Brigade warned...
Today, I showed the letter and the findings to one
I've always thought that, but this is the first time...
You've just shown me the letter now, that is the first
I asked the council and they said no.
They said at a council meeting in February this year,
they told us that they would be changing the windows.
And I said to them, come on, let's face it, the reason the fire
And they said, no, it's absolute rubbish, we're just changing them
because they would have been due a change after ten years.
This wasn't the same issue, the same cladding as Grenfell Tower,
but it shows that just weeks before, councils had been alerted
to a serious concern about fire safety and the outside
With this cladding and now these windows, it's basically
every block in London, by the sounds of it.
If you haven't got cladding, you've got these windows.
So either way, it's a potential fire hazard everywhere.
You know, after what we went through last August,
it's scary to think that I'm still living in a
Tonight, it's too early to say what action, if any,
London councils took following the letter,
but the local authority here - Hammersmith and Fulham -
said it followed all Fire Brigade advice.
And as a precaution, it says, all exterior panels will be removed
The Mayor has launched a major crackdown on knife crime,
after an escalation in violence in the capital.
Nine teenagers have been killed this year and there were three fatal
stabbings in the past 24 hours alone.
The strategy could see more metal detectors in schools,
along with an increase in the use of Stop and Search by police.
Here's our home affairs correspondent, Nick Beake.
The Mayor chose this boxing club in Brixton
to launch his new assault on knife crime.
Pastor Lorraine Jones set it up three years ago,
after her 20-year-old son, Dwayne, was stabbed to death.
It's the kind of place Sadiq Khan says he will now give more money to.
It's vitally important to have spaces like this,
because in spaces like this, the young people feel comfortable.
Unless they feel comfortable and safe, they can't
address their internal issues and social issues that they're
Today, the Mayor blamed his predecessor and the Conservative-led
coalition for a recent rise in knife crime.
What can you say is genuinely new and pioneering and will
Well, knife crime has been going up in London since 2014.
It's clear that all of us have to work together.
That means rather than closing down youth centres because of Government
Well, a specialist team of 80 Met officers to be sent
There will be more Stop and Search, and increased funding
Also, more help for people to leave gangs,
a crackdown on knife sales, and more weapon searches in schools.
This strategy to fight knife crime is something the Mayor
and his team have been working on for the past year.
Lots of different organisations are involved, but the Metropolitan
This strategy gives all of us across London the opportunity to get
And I think the most important thing about it is that it is
all-encompassing and there has been an enormous amount of consultation,
engagement with particularly young people, so it's highly
But not everyone thinks this strategy is destined to work.
Sefton Henry started selling drugs when he was just eight.
He thinks the Mayor should make more use of reformed criminals.
I know what it's like to be in a prison cell.
I know what it's like to carry a knife.
I know what it's like to rob people and sell drugs and the rest of it.
I know the root causes of what made me do that.
The Conservatives say the Mayor's new strategy lacks clear targets,
so it will be hard to work out whether or not any of these measures
After 16 attempts at IVF and seven years of heartache,
Sandeep and Reena Mander, from Berkshire, decided
But the couple, who are Sikh, claim they were told they couldn't
take the process forward locally because of their cultural heritage.
There were both born in Britain and said they were happy to take a child
from any ethnic background. They say the agency advised them
to adopt a child from India instead, After seven years of trying and 16
failed IVF attempts, Sandeep and Reena Mander
accepted they were not Convinced they could offer
a child a loving home, they went to an introductory
session on adoption. When they told the agency,
Adopt Berkshire, they would like to move forward,
they were informed that with only white
babies needing families, We'd already gone through
a long journey, and... Initially, I was hurt,
then I was angry. They should be looking at us
as people and understanding more about our lives,
who we are, and not just one particular area,
such as cultural heritage. The couple, both born
and raised in Britain, tried to get the decision reversed
through the agency's They have had support from their MP,
Theresa May, but they have not even been allowed to start the long
application process, which is why I feel that the council has got it
wrong, in the sense that they have prioritised cultural heritage
as the one and primary factor that they will consider before even
allowing couples to register. The effect of doing that is creating
a form of segregation. Adopt Berkshire is the
council's adoption agency. When we asked about this case,
a spokesperson said they would not But on its website, it says -
when placing children for adoption, it will first try to identify
prospective adopters who will reflect the child's culture
and religion of heritage. For us, colour doesn't mean a single
thing to us, you know. So why differentiate that,
and the well-being of the child growing up, just down
to the fact that, I suppose, The legal battle, they say,
is for future couples They've now been approved
for adoption from the US. A man hit by a bus says
he's lucky to be alive. Some viewers may find
the CCTV images alarming. Simon Smith was walking
on Gun Street, in Reading, when a double-decker bus mounted
the pavement and sent him flying. Incredibly, he was able to get up
and walk away and head for the pub. That's it for now from me,
but let's find out what It is raining and it will continue
through the night. Great watering for the garden. This is what we have
had, a lot of rain and flashes around in Orpington, 20 millimetres
in one hour. It is continuing through the night. Piling up on the
radar picture. The Met Office has a weather warning as a result. There
could be disruption to transport and difficult driving conditions and
possibly flooding. Plenty of rain, some of it heavy. A weirdly cool and
muggy feel, and that continues tomorrow morning and it will be
raining for some in the rush-hour, clearing away into the afternoon
with brighter spells. You can see on Thursday, a quite cloudy day, and
you might get further showers. Thursday, a quite cloudy day, and
you might get further showers. Good evening. The weather seems to
have done a complete U-turn. For some today, wet and miserable for
much of the day. In the Isle of Man, we have seen 56 millimetres of rain
in 24 hours. Yes, the gardens are happy, but not sure if you have been
if you live there. Some of that heavy this morning. Pushing North
and East and light and drizzly into the afternoon, with showers
developing into the South East. Becoming quite extensive through the
afternoon across Kent and into London and into East Anglia. We have
seen 50 millimetres in the Suffolk area in just 12 hours. The rain
continues to be heavy and it will do so through the night. Gradually
drifting North and West. The exception of Scotland,