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Boris overruling the Fire Authority and axing 13 London fire engines is “irresponsible and dangerous”

LONDON ASSEMBLY LABOUR

Boris overruling the Fire Authority and axing 13 London fire engines is “irresponsible and dangerous”


Labour London Assembly Member Navin Shah has hit out at the Mayor of London after he said he would overrule the London Fire Authority after they voted not to scrap thirteen London fire engines, including one in Brent. The decision not to cut the fire engines was taken on Wednesday (17th) by members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) after a public consultation found 82% of respondents were opposed to the Mayor’s plan to axe thirteen London fire engines.

 

In a letter to LFEPA members on Thursday (18th) Boris Johnson’s Chief of Staff confirmed the Mayor would to use his powers to overrule the democratic Fire Authority’s decision, backed by the public consultation, not to scrap the thirteen fire engines.

 

The consultation results published last week revealed that 70% of the 1,478 respondents supported fully funded alternative proposals (Option A) put forward by Andrew Dismore AM, which would retain the 13 fire engines and make the required savings by changing the way some engines are crewed, allowing one crew to run different types of fire appliance to ensure all of the Fire Brigade’s current engines are able to stay in service. Only 18% of respondents supported Option B which would see the 13 fire engines scrapped.

 

In January 2014 the Mayor’s last round of cuts to the Fire Brigade saw him order the closure of 10 fire stations with the loss of 14 fire engines. Following the closures London saw a significant increase in response times with rises in 401 of London’s 654 wards when compared with the year before the cuts were forced through.

 

Labour London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, Navin Shah AM, said:

 

“The Fire Authority has made it clear that we, like the majority of the public, don’t support axing London fire engines, when safer alternatives exist. It’s outrageous that the Mayor now intends to trample over both the democratic decision of the Fire Authority and the very clear message sent by the public against scrapping these vital fire engines."

 

“Axing these thirteen fire engines will lead to a less safe London with fewer resources available to respond to serious incidents. We’ve already seen response times go up since Boris’ last round of cuts. When there is a viable and fully funded alternative on the table, trampling over public opinion and scrapping these fire engines is irresponsible and dangerous.”

 

ENDS

Permanent link to this article
20th February 2016

Revealed: More fire engines face Boris’ axe

Proposals from the Fire Brigade Commissioner to scrap 13 London Fire Engines faced fierce opposition this week when they were debated at a Resources Committee meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA). 

At the meeting LFEPA members received proposals from the Commissioner which included scrapping 13 more fire engines from London’s fleet. The proposals are part of the Fire Brigade’s plans to deal with the £13.2 million Mayor Boris Johnson cut from its budget.

In preparation for any decision to axe the 13 fire engines the Fire Brigade has prepared two lists of stations from which the 13 fire engines could be taken. 13 engines have already been temporarily withdrawn from service but the Fire Brigade has yet to confirm whether these would be the same 13 which will eventually be axed if the cuts go ahead and have also created a list identifying the optimum stations from which to axe the engines. The final decision on the cuts will be taken in December with the Mayor having the final say.

Alternative proposals put forward by Labour Chair of the Fire Authority’s Resources Committee Andrew Dismore AM would see the 13 fire engines returned to their base stations along with a range of back office efficiencies and further re-prioritisations to meet the budget gap. The proposals also include extending alternate crewing arrangements for some of the special appliances which are called out far less frequently than regular fire engines.

In January 2014 the Mayor forced through the closure of 10 London fire stations and axed 14 fire engines. Subsequently response times across the capital rose.

There is little doubt that the Mayor’s plan to axe another 13 fire engines could have dire consequences for Londoners and would put lives at risk.

Londoners need to know that there are clear and costed alternatives available that would protect the frontline and which the Mayor must seriously consider if he wants to protect the safety of the capital.

With Boris’ pledge to protect the frontline already in tatters, the fear is that he will have no problem breaking it further to axe yet more vital resources.

 

ENDS

 

Notes

 

-       The two lists of options prepared by the LFB for Boris Johnson on removing 13 fire engines from London stations are available here:

13 fire stations with pumps currently withdrawn

 

Optimum 13 fire stations from which to remove pumps

Erith

 LB Bexley

West Hampstead

 LB Camden

Willesden

 LB Brent

Norbury

 LB Croydon

Ealing

 LB Ealing

Ealing

 LB Ealing

Shoreditch

 LB Hackney

East Greenwich

 LB Greenwich

Romford

 LB Havering

Shoreditch

 LB Hackney

Holloway

 LB Islington

Hammersmith

 LB Hammersmith

Chelsea

 LB Kensington and Chelsea

Romford

 LB Havering

Forest Hill

 LB Lewisham

Forest Hill

 LB Lewisham

Plaistow

 LB Newham

Stratford

 LB Newham

Stratford

 LB Newham

Old Kent Road

 LB Southwark

Old Kent Road

 LB Southwark

Wandsworth

 LB Wansdworth

Poplar

 LB Tower Hamlets

Sidcup

LB Bexley

Wandsworth

 LB Wandsworth

Hornsey

LB Haringey

 

-       In January 2014 the Mayor closed 10 fire stations and axed 14 fire engines.

-       Details of Andrew Dismore AM’s alternative amendment to the Fire Brigade Budget are available here.

-       The LFEPA Resources Committee meeting was held at 10.30am on Thursday 12th November at City Hall.

-       Boris Johnson is making £13.2m of cuts to the London Fire Brigade for the 2016/17 financial year.

Permanent link to this article
12th November 2015