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London to lose 13 fire engines in £11.5m budget cuts, Mayor confirms

PUBLISHED: 17:43 17 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:23 21 March 2016

Fiirefighters from Poplar fire station on strike over pension cuts in 2013. Poplar is one of 13 stations across London that will lose a fire engine (Picture: Isabel Infantes)

Fiirefighters from Poplar fire station on strike over pension cuts in 2013. Poplar is one of 13 stations across London that will lose a fire engine (Picture: Isabel Infantes)

Archant

The scrapping of 13 fire engines in the capital was today given the final go-ahead.

Pumps in both Poplar and Shoreditch will now be removed permanently after the Mayor of London’s direction on how to slash £11.5m from the Brigade’s budget was approved in their annual budget.

The decision, opposed by the 70 per cent of those taking part in a public consultation, means engines that had been out of service for the past two and a half years will now be taken away for good.

London fire boss Ron Dobson recommended the engines’ removal over the other option of diminishing the numbers of staff in each crew.

“The 13 fire engines have been out of service for over two and a half years but we have continued to achieve our response time targets of on average six minutes for a first fire engine and eight minutes for a second to attend incidents,” he said.

The permanent removal of the 13 fire engines would see an increase of four seconds for a first fire engine to five minutes, 27 seconds, and an increase of 18 seconds for a second fire engine to six minutes and 45 seconds.

The stations that had one of their two fire engines removed in August 2013 were Chelsea, Ealing, Erith, Forest Hill, Holloway, Old Kent Road, Plaistow, Poplar, Romford, Shoreditch, Stratford, Wandsworth, and Willesden.

Paul Embery, FBU’s regional secretary for London, said he was “really disappointed” by the decision.

“There has been a number of incidents recently where people have died in fires following delayed responses by the London Fire Brigade,” he said, claiming: “These are directly attributable to the huge cuts that have taken place in the last two years.

“The brigade is spread very thinly at the moment. It is therefore completely reckless to plough on with further cuts. Lives are being lost. This madness has got to stop.”

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs added: “Boris Johnson’s dictatorial approach in forcing through these cuts betrays his utter disdain for proper democratic process,

“Local people are going to be understandably furious that the Mayor has ignored their views and forced through his cuts to their local fire services.”

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