Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Friday, January 11, 2013
Redbridge’s three fire stations look to be safe from the axe after 12 station closures across London were confirmed this afternoon.
Hainault Fire Station, in New North Road, was listed for closure in several plans in the run-up to today’s budget announcement.
Ilford Fire Station, in High Road, and Woodford Fire Station, in Snakes Lane West, were not under threat under the proposals.
The government and Mayor of London have ordered a £28.8million budget cut over the next two years.
A dozen stations across the capital will be shut down, while others will lose appliances.
Chingford, Leyton and Leytonstone will each lose one of their two fire engines.
The commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Ron Dobson, believes it is possible to implement the cuts without making any compulsory redundancies, but 520 firefighters will have to go.
He said: “In the last four years, we have cut £52m without reducing frontline services.
“Additional savings cannot be found without making significant changes to how we keep London safe.
“In the last decade, demand for the brigade’s service has changed dramatically and it’s time to reflect that in how our fire stations, engines and staff are organised.”
The London Fire Brigade now attends half the amount of fires, a third fewer house fires and almost a third fewer incidents than a decade ago.
Mr Dobson believes current target response times for first and second fire engines can be maintained with the changes.
The London Fire Brigades’ Union is running an online petition opposing station closures and cuts to services.
Union treasurer Laurence Brightman said the changes could affect response times.
He added: “We would have less fire cover and some areas could lose engines, so when you do the maths there’s going to be a delay in attendance.
“These cuts are very, very dangerous and have no consideration for the safety of firefighters and the general public.”
Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority will discuss the plan on January 21 and a final decision is expected in June following a public consultation.