Christmas break and lockdown mean most recent day of hearing was 9 December

The Grenfell Inquiry has said having to test equipment for remote hearings is one of the reasons why it will have been delayed for four weeks by the time it resumes next month.

It set to start up again on 8 February – nearly nine weeks after it was last in session.

Grenfell Tower summer 2020 a

Source: Shutterstock

The current module of the inquiry will finish in March

The inquiry into the 2017 fire, which killed 72 people, was forced to close early last month when one of the inquiry team tested positive for covid.

It had been due to resume on 11 January but has been delayed by four weeks because of the imposition of the third national lockdown earlier this month.

In a statement, the inquiry said the month-long delay in restarting had been caused by having to send out equipment to witnesses and make sure it worked.

It added: “The Inquiry’s suppliers required time to safely distribute equipment to all those involved in the hearings, including all the remaining witnesses for Module 2, to remotely test that equipment with each individual and to test the new processes to ensure hearings can proceed smoothly when they resume. 8 February is the earliest date by which this can confidently be achieved.”

It has previously said remote hearings will be a temporary measure and “used only for as long as is absolutely necessary”.

The second module of the inquiry, which is focusing on the role of materials used in the tower’s refurbishment materials, is due to finish in March. The second phase of the inquiry is due to wrap up in February 2022.