Chiswick Fire Station May Escape Cutbacks

Local station not on leaked closure list, but Acton may shut


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Chiswick Fire Station is reported to be getting an extra fire engine and to escape the threatened cutbacks which could see several London stations including Acton, close in the next two years.

The plans to save £65 million would, according to a leaked document, result in the closure of 17 fire stations and up to 600 jobs.

But according to the leaked confidential document, said to the the Fire Authority’s 'preferred option’, a number of key stations including Chiswick, East Greenwich, Euston, Hendon, Purley, and Twickenham, would allegedly get an extra appliance

Proposed station closures: Acton, Belsize, Clerkenwell, Downham, Islington, Kensington, Knightsbridge, New Cross, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminster, Woolwich, Bow, Clapham, Kingsland, Peckham, Whitechapel

The Mayor Boris Johnson has come under fire from unions who demanded he rethink the list of stations listed for possible closure. Mr. Johnson claimed the move would not put Londoners at risk and pledged there would be “no reduction” in safety and emergency response times would remain the same.

But Paul Embery of the Fire Brigades Union said: “This is potentially the biggest threat the London Fire Brigade is facing since the days of the Luftwaffe.

“Cuts of the kind being proposed are likely to lead to the decimation of the fire service. It’s time the politicians stand up to Boris Johnson and say these cuts are unworkable.”

Andrew Dismore, a Labour member of the London fire and emergency planning authority, said: “They’re trying to say no final decision has been taken, it has not been nailed down. But the obvious intention is to pull the wool over the eyes of the public.”

This week it emerged that all of London’s firefighters had been asked to consider quitting. Civilian staff are also being encouraged to leave, with a £10,000 “golden goodbye”.

Fire authority chairman James Cleverly said the service had inherited some “quite antiquated” stations among its 113-strong estate. He insisted the leaked list could be significantly changed depending on the authority’s final budget at the end of the year.

Safe stations listed include; Barking, Battersea, Croydon, Dagenham, Dockhead, East Ham, Edmonton, Hammersmith, Harold Hill, Harrow, Heston, Holloway, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Leytonstone, Millwall, Mitcham, Old Kent Road, Orpington, Paddington, Plaistow, Purley, Shadwell, Stratford, Walthamstow, Wembley, West Norwood

The list of threatened stations was at the centre of a political row last week at Mayor's Question Time when Labour assembly member Andrew Dinsmore revealed the existence of the document.

Stephen Knight, London Assembly Member said; “These proposals for fire station closures and the removal of fire engines flow directly from the budget cuts that Boris Johnson is forcing upon the London Fire Brigade. We should not forget that he recklessly set the level of cuts for the next two years without taking any advice from senior fire officers as to the consequences.”

“Boris Johnson should realise that fire cuts on this scale will be unacceptable to Londoners and provide the brigade with the budget it needs to do the job.”

Ealing Central and Acton Conservative MP, Angie Bray, said:

'' "I am not aware that the Mayor of London has announced any plans to close any London fire stations. However, were he to do so, there would still need to be a full Operational Review before any decisions could be taken. In the event of such a review taking place, it would be of paramount importance to ensure that there would be no loss of operational coverage."

It's thought the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority will discuss the plans next month.

October 19, 2012

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