Boris Johnson orders public consultation into fire station closure proposals
16:36 30 January 2013
Boris Johnson has overruled London’s fire authority over proposals to close 12 of the capital’s fire stations as part of cost-cutting measures.
The London Mayor, who appeared at City Hall for Question Time today, made the move after members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority voted last week not to accept the plans outlined by commissioner Ron Dobson.
The proposals will also result in the loss of 520 jobs, in a bid to make savings of £45 million. Mr Johnson has now directed LFEPA to start a public consultation.
Mr Johnson said the authority had increased the likelihood of compulsory redundancies by not tackling a budget gap, adding: “There have been some outrageous claims that the fire commissioner and I would put lives of Londoners at risk, so I have directed the plans to go for consultation as planned because the option presented by the authority is unfit for purpose and unsustainable in budget terms.
“It is essential that the London Fire Brigade continues to modernise so that it can remain one of the world’s leading rescue services and is equipped to respond to 21st century fire fighting needs.
“It’s right that tough decisions have to be made in times of economic uncertainty. History shows the difficulties organisations face when they don’t meet their financial responsibilities. With 100 fire stations and over 150 fire engines, I am completely resolute that any agreed proposals will still be able to deal with large scale or multiple emergencies.”
The mayor pointed out that the London brigade attends half as many fires as a decade ago, while fire deaths were down by a third.
Navin Shah, Labour’s fire spokesman on the London Assembly, said the mayor’s move was the first step in closing the 12 stations.
“Boris needs to think again and look at reallocating resources from the wider Greater London Authority budget.
“This will keep our fire stations open and protect the safety and security of Londoners. He is trying to force the London Fire Authority to make these deep cuts, which are opposed by us and many Londoners.”
Mr Shah said he had called an emergency meeting of the fire authority to discuss the mayor’s intervention.