I urge residents have of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest to have their say over changes to their fire service. The London Fire Brigade has launched a consultation over proposals to meet £6.4m of budget cuts demanded by the Mayor. Local people are able to choose from two options, one which will see the permanent removal of 13 fire engines, and the other which will focus on back office efficiencies, allowing the 13 engines to be returned. A public meeting to discuss the future of fire services in North East London, including Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, will take place on 20th January.
Proposals set out in London Fire Brigade’s consultation include plans to permanently axe 13 fire engines, which could potentially see the removal of an engine each at Holloway station and Shoreditch station. However, I believe that cutting more fire engines could exacerbate a recent rise in response times across the capital. 13 wards in Islington saw a rise in response times in 2014/15, when compared with the previous year, before Boris Johnson’s closure of 10 fire stations and scrapping of 14 engines.
Alternative proposals set out by Andrew Dismore AM, Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Resource Committee, would meet the savings target through back office efficiencies and changing working patterns, enabling the 13 engines to be returned.
A public meeting to discuss both proposals and their impact for North East London including Islington, will take place at The Old Town Hall, Stratford at 7pm on 20th January.
With our fire services facing uncertain times, and response times already rising significantly in Islington, it’s important that local people have their say over the future of London’s fire service.
The Mayor’s cuts mean that there are very tough decisions ahead. If you take fire engines out of service then of course response times could rise and lives could be put at risk. Nobody wants to see that happen. With frontline services at stake, it hugely important that local people are given the opportunity to make their views known.