It was revealed today that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will continue to force through his cuts to the London Fire Brigade. The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) will meet next week to vote on the Mayor’s plans. The documents for that meeting – which were published this afternoon – show that the Mayor has backed down and will not close Clapham and New Cross Fire Stations. However, he will continue to try and force the rest of fire cuts through.
The Mayor wanted to close 12 fire stations, cut 18 fire engines and axe 520 firefighters. The updated plans released today show that Clapham will stay open, but will lose one of its two fire engines; Chelsea Fire Station will keep both of its fire engines; East Greenwich Fire Station will receive a second fire engine; and New Cross Fire Station will remain. This now means that 10 fire stations will still close with the total loss of 14 fire engines.
The stations that are now planned to close are Belsize, Bow, Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminster and Woolwich.
The stations that will still lose a fire engine are: Chingford, Hayes, Leyton, Leytonstone, Peckham and Whitechapel.
Reacting to the news, London Assembly Labour Fire spokesperson, Navin Shah AM, said:
“I’m pleased that the Mayor has listened to local residents and has scrapped his reckless plans to close Clapham and New Cross Fire Stations. However, he needs to keep open the other 10 fire stations and 14 fire engines that he is trying to cut. At public meetings Londoners spoke with one voice against these cuts. Why has Boris not listened to Londoners fully and saved the other stations and engines as well? This looks like he is trying to divert attention from his other cuts, but we will keep fighting them as they are totally unnecessary.
‘’We all know that savings have to be made, but the London Fire Brigade has already saved £66million from the back office. Boris is cutting too far and all to fund his penny a day council tax cut. What would you prefer, a penny a day or a fully funded fire service that can respond to incidents more quickly?”
“Public meetings have shown that Londoners are fearful for the safety of the areas where they live and work. They are understandably worried about injuries and fatalities from fire. I am deeply disappointed that Boris has failed to protect London’s fire brigade by scrapping his plans. He has let Londoners down with his plan to close 10 fire stations and axe 14 fire engines, after all this is about the protection of the whole of London.”