Station closure proposals “biggest threat” to London Fire Brigade since Second World War, says union

15:59 11 January 2013

Westminster station is among the fire stations proposed for closure by London Fire Brigade. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Westminster station is among the fire stations proposed for closure by London Fire Brigade. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Proposals to shut 12 fire stations in London and axe around 520 jobs have been condemned by politicians, and have been described as the “biggest threat” to the ability of London Fire Brigade to “function since the Second World War”.

This afternoon London Fire Brigade announced it was recommending the closure of 12 stations, and the reduction from two fire engines to one at seven stations.

The plans, if approved, will result in the loss of around 520 front line firefighter jobs.

London Fire Brigade hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies, saying that the posts it is cutting will be through retirement or as people naturally leave, and through a recruitment freeze.

The Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said: “These proposed cuts are dangerous and wrong. If they are implemented, they will undoubtedly jeopardise the safety of Londoners and firefighters alike.

“The London Fire Brigade now faces perhaps the biggest threat to its ability to function since the Second World War.

“The mayor has argued that response times will not be affected by these cuts. Aside from the fact that he has provided little supporting evidence for this claim, anyone who knows anything about firefighting knows that it isn’t just about the speed of response.

“The weight of response, ensuring that you have adequate resources to deal with developing and large-scale incidents, is just as crucial. These cuts would deplete the service and impair its ability to respond quickly and effectively to serious incidents.

“All around the country, chief fire officers are beginning to warn publicly of the danger of catastrophic cuts. Nowhere will those cuts be felt more acutely than in the capital.

“It is intolerable that Londoners’ safety is being compromised because of crude economic considerations. These reckless cuts will endanger Londoners, and we will campaign vigorously against them.”

Stations proposed for closure are Belsize, Bow, Clapham, Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, New Cross, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminster and Woolwich.

Labour’s London Assembly fire spokesman Navin Shah said: “London’s fire brigade is facing a crisis. Today we found out we will lose 12 fire stations, 18 fire engines and 400 firefighters. 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 be in the best interests of Londoners?”

The fire service is due to meet with representatives of the FBU next week to discuss the plans.

Ron Dobson, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said the proposals would not affect response times and would in fact help more boroughs to achieve the target of six minutes for the first engine and eight minutes for the second.

Mr Dobson said he also wanted to recover some costs, such as charging for attending lift failures or false alarms.

He said: “Having spent 33 years as a firefighter serving the capital, I know how important it is to respond to incidents as quickly as possible and I have every intention of maintaining our current response time targets for first and second fire engines.

“With all the work we do to prevent fires happening, and response times that are still amongst the best in the country, I am confident these savings can be made while keeping London safe.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Friday, July 3, 2015
Lewisham Hospital (Picture: PA Images)

A woman from south-east London broke her elbow, went to A&E in Lewisham and then wrote this heartwarming ‘complaint’ letter to NHS staff about her time in hospital.

Friday, July 3, 2015
Police want to talk to this man about the incident in Liverpool Street

A 12-year-old girl is ‘traumatised’ after being sexually assaulted by a drunk pervert at Liverpool Street station last night.

Friday, July 3, 2015
Azelle Rodney was shot dead 10 years ago (Photo: PA Wire)

A Met marksman who who blasted suspected armed robber Azelle Rodney six times at close range 10 years ago has been cleared of his murder.

Friday, July 3, 2015
Back to school time (Picture: The Art of Dining)

Claptonwill call the register and tick off a school dinners themed pop-up restaurant offering posh grub, homework and a milk monitor to east Londoners

Friday, July 3, 2015
Ruby the pygmy goat (Picture: RSPCA)

An adorable pygmy goat has been found roaming through St. Helier park, Carshalton and the RSPCA are now appealing for help to trace her owner.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more
Adrenalin junkies, this one's for you!

An icon of British engineering and a consistent favourite of James Bond, there are few names quite as legendary in motoring as Aston Martin.

Read more