Greenwich fire stations threatened with closure

September 26, 2012 by  

FIRE stations across Greenwich borough could be closed under dramatic cost-cutting plans by the London Fire Brigade.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has instructed the brigade to save £65 million over the next two years. Up to 30 stations, 30 fire engines and 840 jobs across London are now under threat.

Greenwich borough is a particular target for cuts according to an internal report leaked to Greenwich.co.uk. Members of the London Fire authority were told recently that:

"One appliance stations are an expensive way of providing the service… In Greenwich, it costs some £940k pa more [than similar boroughs], because it is delivered mostly from one-appliance stations"

Greenwich, East Greenwich, Eltham, Woolwich, and Lee Green fire stations are all currently run with just one fire engine. Only Plumstead fire station has two. By contrast Bexley has just three fire stations covering the whole borough.

Under a proposal being considered by the brigade, only one-appliance stations will be targeted for closure.


Excerpt from leaked document

Any closures could significantly increase the time it takes firefighters to reach incidents in the borough. According to internal brigade statistics, response times for two-appliance stations are up to three times longer on average, than for areas covered by single-appliance stations.

The proposals have reignited fears of strike action. A spokesperson for the Fire Brigade Union told Greenwich.co.uk:

"It is very difficult to see at this stage how they will be able to carry out such deep cuts without compromising public safety and reducing the level of fire cover in parts of London. When it comes to fire, seconds count, and quick response times are crucial. If we believe any proposals would jeopardise the safety of Londoners, we will do everything in our power to resist their implementation.”

Asked about station closures earlier this month the Mayor’s chairman of the Fire Authority James Cleverly pointed out that the number of fires across London has dramatically reduced in recent years. Over the last 12 years the number of fires in London has fallen from 48,000 a year to just 27,000.

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said today:

"Like virtually every other public service, the brigade is facing the need to make savings. The Mayor has given a target for these savings, and we are considering our response to this. All options are being considered but no decisions have yet been made.”

A full list of stations threatened with closure will be released in November.

UPDATED

Nick Raynsford MP provided this comment in response to the story above:

"As the Government's austerity programme bites harder, it is clear that serious spending cuts are being considered at City Hall affecting the Metropolitan Police Service and the London Fire Brigade. These could well have a disastrous impact on front-line services, including the downgrading of Neighbourhood Police Teams, the loss of fire appliances and closure of Police and Fire Stations.

While not opposed to efficiency savings which have no adverse impact on public safety, I will be scrutinising very closely any proposals which could increase the risk of harm to the public through crime, fire or other emergency, and will strenuously oppose and such cuts that threaten the safety of Greenwich and Woolwich".

Comments

6 Responses to “Greenwich fire stations threatened with closure”

  1. John Fahy on September 26th, 2012 10:43 am

    Very bad news. Coupled with reductions in Police by Christmas,Londoners are in for hard times ahead. Another set of broken promises.

  2. Richard on September 26th, 2012 10:57 am

    John a little reality check for you. The current government is ‘cutting’ the deficit at a slower rate than the Labour party committed to in their last manefesto. You can do this by looking at the cyclically adjsuted primary balance.

    Do yourself a favoiur and cut the pathetic soundbites and actually propose how you would solve the problem of the level of national debt that the Labour party saddled this country with. Presumably you would cut the Police of Fire Services so what wouild you do? Raise our taxes, cut the NHS, benefits?

  3. Chris on September 26th, 2012 12:21 pm

    Richard – The Tories aren’t cutting the deficit, they’re borrowing more (August public sector net borrowing an all time record 14.42 billion pounds). One of the main reassons?? A loss of tax receipts — in part caused by the Tories firing people (another 840 firings possible here).

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that 840 people working provides more in the way of tax income, than 840 languising on the dole and drawing benefits.

    The Tories have been warned from the word go that their cuts would exacerbate a parlous economic situation. When are you going to learn that sometimes you have to spend money to save money?

    For the sake of 940k a year I do not want to wait three to four times as long for a fire engine — and I imagine the old lady at the end of our road who was pulled out of her house with seconds to spare by firefighters last year and resussed by them would agree with me.

  4. Richard on September 26th, 2012 12:28 pm

    No Chris firing state workers saves money so long as their salaries are greater than benefits received. I am not advocating cutting money to the fire service but I am fed up of politicians spouting inane soundbites whilst making no attempt to offer a solution.

    And for the record the government is cutting the defict but not the debt.

  5. Darren on September 26th, 2012 3:32 pm

    Funny thing about the emergency services, none of us want to pay more for them but we all expect them to be there immediately when we need them.

    If you want help when you call for it then pay for it!

    Simples

  6. Westminster Fire Station to be closed by Boris | labourwestminster on October 17th, 2012 4:48 pm

    [...] mayor has told the brigade to save £65 million from their budget over the next two years. Every London firefighter has been told to consider [...]