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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

12 Fire Stations, 18 Fire Engines and 400 Fire-Fighters to be cut in London

The London Fire Brigade's budget has been cut by the Mayor and government by £45 million over the next two years. Even after the 12 stations, 18 fire appliances and 400 fire-fighters have been cut the Mayor and LFEPA will still have to find over £5 million of cuts. On average it costs £1.4 million to run a one fire engine station.

The fire stations listed for closure are:

Belsize in Camden

Bow in Tower Hamlets

Clapham in Lambeth

Clerkenwell in Islington

Downham in Lewisham

Kingsland in Hackney

Knightsbridge in Kensington & Chelsea

New Cross in Lewisham

Silvertown in Newham

Southwark

Westminster

Woolwich in Greenwich 

In addition the following stations will lose one of their two fire engines: Chelsea, Chingford, Hayes, Leyton, Leytonstone, Peckham and Whitechapel.

London’s fire brigade is facing a crisis, today we found out we will lose 12 fire stations, 18 fire engines and 400 fire-fighters. This will reduce fire cover in London, these cuts will put the safety and security of Londoners at risk.

How can cutting 12 of our fire stations, 18 fire engines and 400 fire-fighters be in the best interest of Londoners? The London Fire Brigade and their dedicated staff do a fantastic job keeping us safe and helping us when we need it most. The government are cutting too far and too fast, hitting the frontline and fundamentally undermining the ability of the fire brigade to do their job. It’s time that the Mayor stood up for Londoners and got a better deal from central government.

We understand that savings have to be made, but the level of cuts forced on the London Fire Brigade by the Mayor and government are truly reckless. Boris’s cuts are hitting front-line services and putting public safety at risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article
11th January 2013

The fight goes on to keep Fire Stations open

Picture1.png

I led a group of London Labour MPs and Assembly Member colleagues to hand-deliver a letter to Mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall on 1 November. The letter, signed by 33 London MPs, calls on the Mayor to re-think his proposed drastic cuts to the London Fire Brigade which could see 17 fire stations, 17 fire appliances and over 600 firefighters lost across London, including Willesden Green Fire Station in Brent.

Holding the petition outside City Hall with MPs and Assembly Members.JPG

Conservative Chair of the Fire Authority, James Cleverly, has publicly stated that only 28 out of London’s 112 stations “will definitely not close”. There has been no public consultation on this issue which threatens to put Londoners’ safety at risk.

The London Fire Brigade is facing severe cuts due to the government slashing the fire budget by 25%. This represents the biggest shake-up to the London Fire Brigade since it was created 146 years ago.

The budget was cut by £29.5million this year and will be slashed by a further £35.3million next year, a total of £65million. These losses are even deeper than the 20% cut to the police budget.

We called on the Mayor to re-think these dangerous cuts which will put the safety of Londoners at risk. It is about time he listened to residents across the city and abandoned these plans. Londoners including people in my constituency of Brent and Harrow are deeply concerned and worried about losing their local fire station.

Navin handing in petition .JPG

I understand that savings have to be made, but the level of cuts forced on the London Fire Brigade by the Mayor and government are truly reckless. They are cutting too far, too fast. They are hitting front-line services and putting public safety at risk. The Mayor needs to listen to the concerns of Londoners and change course.

Permanent link to this article
2nd November 2012