Live updates

Communal hallway fire warning

London's cluttered communal stairwells and hallways are affected by more than one fire every day, new figures reveal.

London Fire Brigade is warning that clutter like buggies, bikes, mattresses and potted plants in communal areas are either blocking residents' fire escape routes, hampering firefighters trying to tackle the fire or can often be the cause of fires in the first place.

The Brigade is asking landlords and freeholders, who are responsible for communal areas, to do more to ensure they are kept clear. It is their duty to carry out fire risk assessments and ensure that tenants know their escape routes and understand what to do in the event of a fire in their block. Residents should also report items causing blockages in hallways to their landlords.

Last year there were 514 fires which affected communal areas, such as hallways, stairways and corridors, in purpose built and high rise blocks - an increase of 65 on the previous year's figures. This is more than 40 fires affecting communal areas per month.

"It's the responsibility of landlords to keep communal areas clear and ensure their property has a suitable fire safety plan. Residents can help by not storing bikes, buggies and other items in communal areas because these can cause fires that can spread quickly. "Parking a pushchair or a bike outside your flat might seem like a practical solution but in the event of a fire it becomes a dangerous obstacle that can slow down firefighters trying to reach a fire and residents trying to escape it."

– London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Steve Turek

For more information about safety measures in purpose built high rise blocks click here.

Crossrail extension announcement expected

A completed section of the Crossrail tunnel
A completed section of the Crossrail tunnel Credit: PA

The Transport Secretary is expected to make a major announcement about Crossrail this morning. It's thought plans are being looked at for a new route to Hertfordshire. It would help ease pressures during the construction of HS2. It's also understood it will signal the beginning of competitions for £6 billion worth of HS2 construction contracts.


London's centralised stroke services save 96 extra lives per year

Every year, London's centralised stroke services save around 96 stroke patients who would have died under standard hospital treatment.

A study, led by UCL and published in the BMJ, found that the 2010 centralisation of London stroke services also reduced the average hospital stay by around a day and a half.

Since 2010, anyone suffering a stroke in London is taken to one of eight 24/7 Hyper Acute Stroke Units (HASUs) rather than the nearest hospital. Patients are assessed immediately by specialised stroke staff equipped to instantly perform brain imaging and give clot busting treatment where appropriate. HASU locations were selected to ensure that no Londoner is more than half an hour's ambulance journey away. 24 Stroke Units provide rehabilitation services after the initial HASU visit and five hospitals no longer provide acute stroke services.

"Centralisation in London reduced death rates by 1.1% at 90 days after stroke after adjusting for confounding factors including improved survival nationwide. Against a backdrop of increasing stroke survival across England, looking only at changes in survival in both areas before and after centralisation is not an accurate measure of the impact of the changes. The 96 patients per year figure represents the additional lives saved by centralisation over and above the lives saved by improvements to stroke care nationally."

– Professor Stephen Morris of the UCL Department of Applied Health Research.


Researchers find HIV medication could treat MS

Drugs used to treat HIV could potentially be used to treat multiple sclerosis in the future.

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London found that people with a HIV infection have a significantly lower risk of developing the debilitating condition. They said that chronic dampening down of the immune system as a result of HIV or the antiretroviral drugs used to treat it could be the reason behind the lowered risk.

Charity the MS Society said that while much more research is needed into the subject, the study shows that that antiretrovirals could be a potential future option for treatment for MS.

Load more updates


Today's top stories