MP Apsana Begum has called for stricter measures on the operation of construction cranes during a debate in the Commons over safety regulations following the tragedy in Bromley-by-Bow last summer.

Last July, a 60-foot crane overturned killing 85-year-old June Harvey at her home in Compton Close next to the Watts Grove construction site.

Collapsed crane that crashed through the roof of June Harvey's house

Collapsed crane that crashed through the roof of June Harvey’s house
– Credit: Sid Rahman

“We need robust legislation and enforcement,” Ms. Begum urged MPs. “Trends in deregulation are widespread, mainly related to disguise, which has affected many families in east London and was brought into focus by the fire at Grenfell Tower.”

The East London MP, whose constituency includes Poplar and Limehouse Compton Close, said the Grenfell Tower tragedy was a warning of “what may continue to happen” if health and safety regulations are not tightened.

MP Apsana Begum ... Crane Safety Ordinance

MP Apsana Begum … crane safety regulation “unsuitable”.
– Credit: Jess Hurd

“The safety regulations for (company) cranes are not expedient,” she emphasized. “It is also not enforced robustly.

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“Accidents like Bromley-by-Bow are conspicuously likely to happen unless there are rules in our legislation.”

The tragic June Harvey, 85, was killed when the crane fell through the roof of her home

The tragic June Harvey, 85, was killed when the crane fell through the roof of her home
– Credit: Harvey Family

June Harvey was in a bedroom upstairs in one of the row houses in Compton Close when the crane crashed through the roof.

Her great-nephew Sam Atkinson, who lived in the house with his mother, Jacqueline Atkinson, later recalled that the noise was “so loud I thought a plane had crashed”.

He said at the time: “I screamed for my mother and aunt and tried to push myself through the rubble, but it was impossible. The whole house crumbled around me. ”

The terrace of six cottages in Compton Close took the brunt of the crane collapse on July 8, and three others were injured, including a construction site worker operating the crane when it overturned.

  Ironic message on the Watts Grove construction site after crane collapse

Ironic message on the Watts Grove construction site after crane collapse
– Photo credit: Mike Brooke

All houses in Compton Close had to be evacuated and the families spent weeks and months in hotel B&B accommodations in Whitechapel and Canning Town.

An injured neighbor, caregiver Tracy Clachar, was given a temporary home in a high-rise in Poplar, but was nervous because scaffolding was being removed in the adjacent block.

It is “a constant reminder” of the dangerous construction site next to Compton Close.