Both Hackney and Islington will lose a fire engine after the Mayor of London forced through cuts to the London Fire Brigade. Boris Johnson’s decision to axe 13 fire engines across the capital will go ahead despite 82% of Londoners opposing the Mayor’s plans. Local London Assembly Member, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, blasted the Mayor for ignoring the views of local people and pushing ahead with his cuts.
Earlier this month the Mayor of London issued a Mayoral Direction forcing the Fire Authority to implement his plans to permanently scrap 13 fire engines. His cuts form part of proposals to make £9m of savings from the Fire Authority’s 2016/17 budget. Shoreditch station in Hackney and Holloway station in Islington are set to lose an engine each as part of Boris Johnson’s cuts.
Boris Johnson’s instruction comes despite a public consultation finding that 82% of Londoners opposed his plans to cut the 13 engines.
London Assembly Member, Fiona Twycross AM, wrote to the Mayor on 10th March, asking him to scale back his cuts. Dr Twycross appealed to Boris Johnson to agree to a compromise which would see newly identified underspends used to keep some of the 13 engines the Mayor wants to cut. However, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff responded to Dr Twycross saying that there was “nothing to be gained” from further engagement.
Labour London Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, said:
“Boris Johnson’s dictatorial approach in forcing through these cuts betrays his utter disdain for proper democratic process. Local people in Hackney and Islington are going to be understandably furious that the Mayor has ignored their views and forced through his cuts to their local fire services.
“The Mayor’s decision to impose these cuts shows a disregard for the safety of Londoners, particularly when alternatives were available. Last time the Mayor axed fire engines the result was an increase in how long it takes fire crews to get to incidents. Boris should have learnt from that mistake and backed down on these unnecessary cuts.”
– A copy of the letter from the Mayor of London’s Chief of Staff to LFEPA members confirming the Mayor would use his powers to overrule their decision is available here.
– The results of the LFB consultation into the proposed cuts to the Fire Brigade area available here. (begins page 11 halfway down) and reads:
69. The consultation questionnaire asked respondents which option they preferred (‘Option A’ or ‘Option B’) and the reasons for their preference. In addition, respondents also had the opportunity to select a ‘Neither’ option.
70. A sizable majority of respondents chose Option A as their preferred option (70 per cent). Option B was chosen by 18 per cent of respondents, and ‘Neither’ was selected by 11 per cent. One per cent of respondents offered no selection.
71. This response was broadly reflected across respondent types. The only exception to this was from those respondents who identified themselves as ‘Elected Members’. In this case, Option B was the preferred option (54 per cent). The numbers of ‘Elected Members’ responding however was much smaller (34) compared to 328 staff, and 1,078 responses from the public.
– The 13 fire engines which would be permanently lost are based at the below fire stations. The pumps in question have already been temporarily withdrawn.
|13 fire stations with pumps at risk:|
|Chelsea||LB Kensington and Chelsea|
|Forest Hill||LB Lewisham|
|Old Kent Road||LB Southwark|
|Poplar||LB Tower Hamlets|
– The letter from Fiona Twycross AM to the Mayor regarding the scrapping of 13 London Fire Engines is available here.
– The Mayor’s Chief of Staff responded to Dr Twycross on 10th March. His letter is available here.