Firefighters put pressure on Mayor at London Assembly meeting on station closures
London Mayor Boris Johnson has followed through on plans to make cuts to the London Fire Brigade after fire deputy James Cleverly used his casting vote to pass the measure at a meeting of the London Assembly.
The plans to cut 10 fire stations and 14 fire engines have been opposed consistently by opposition members of the fire authority and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).
Mr Johnson's decision was met with a hugely negative response from members of the London branch of the Fire Brigades Union who protested outside and heckled him at Mayor's Question Time this week.
Speaking exclusively to FIRE after the meeting, FBU London secretary, Paul Embery, said: “We went to City Hall to tell Boris Johnson that his cuts are reckless and wrong.
“There is widespread hostility to these cuts which would lead to an increase in response times for four million Londoners. In a service where seconds really do count, this would inevitably cost lives. The mayor should abandon his plans and keep his pre-election promise not to cut fire cover in London.”
Despite boos from the chamber, the Mayor told the Assembly that the proposals put forward by London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson are "sensible and in the best interests" of residents of the capital.
"If you can disperse resources to fight fires more effectively, especially in straightened times, then this is something we have to act on," added Mr Johnson.
LFEPA have asked the Fire Commissioner to investigate alternative crewing arrangements for aerial appliances, fire and rescue units and the possible removal of a small number of each but the Mayor's team has suggested these would not achieve the same level of savings.
Also speaking after the meeting Labour London Assembly fire spokesperson, Fiona Twycross AM, said: "We oppose these cuts and have done so since they were first announced. By working with Londoners we have saved up to 21 fire stations that were under threat of closure. The Mayor is putting Londoners at risk and making our great city less safe. The public have spoken with one clear voice, the overwhelming majority do not want these cuts and want to protect frontline fire services.
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