News from Len Duvall OBE: Lewisham to lose fire engine after Boris forces through cuts

14 March 2016

Lewisham 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, Len Duvall 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. Forest Hill station in Lewisham is set to lose an engine 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 Greenwich and Lewisham, Len Duvall AM, said:

 

“Boris Johnson’s dictatorial approach in forcing through these cuts betrays his utter disdain for proper democratic process. Local people in Lewisham 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.”

 

Notes to editors

  • 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:

Preferred options

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:

Erith

 LB Bexley

Willesden

 LB Brent

Ealing

 LB Ealing

Shoreditch

 LB Hackney

Romford

 LB Havering

Holloway

 LB Islington

Chelsea

 LB Kensington and Chelsea

Forest Hill

 LB Lewisham

Plaistow

 LB Newham

Stratford

 LB Newham

Old Kent Road

 LB Southwark

Poplar

 LB Tower Hamlets

Wandsworth

 LB Wandsworth

 

  • 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.

 

  • Len Duvall AM is the London Assembly Member for Greenwich and Lewisham

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