Firestations in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Lewisham among 12 earmarked for closure across London

Pic: Eastlondonlines

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, has unveiled plans to close 12 fire stations across London including several within the Eastlondonlines boroughs.

As part of the proposals, Bow station in Tower Hamlets, Kingsland station in Hackney and Lewisham’s Downham and New Cross stations will be among the twelve considered for closure.

The plans will also bring changes to Whitechapel station in Tower Hamlets where the number of fire engines will be halved.

The fire brigade estimates that the closures will result in the loss of 520 jobs, which is about 10% of the frontline fire fighter jobs in London.

Ron Dobson, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said: “The plans have been designed to modernise London’s network of fire stations.

“Like virtually every other public service, the brigade needs to make savings.

“Additional savings cannot be found without making significant changes.

The closures are planned in order to make savings worth £28.8 million over the next two years.

He added: “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.”

There has been a sharp decrease in the number of fires over the last decade. Although each of the boroughs has increased in population size, the total number of fire incidents in  Tower Hamlets over the last decade has decreased by 49 per cent, while Hackney  has seen a decrease of 48 per cent and Lewisham 39 per cent.

The brigade will continue to maintain its existing average target response time of six minutes for the first engine to arrive, and eight minutes if a second engine is necessary.

The commissioner plans to move fire engines to where they are most needed. Many will move to  outer London where response times are currently slower.

As part of the proposal, Dobson has also suggested setting up the world’s first 999 twitter feed.

In the document which outlines the plans the service says it aims to: “Take pride in making London a safer city” and that it is committed to: “excellence and providing a quality service.”

When asked how this will be achieved with fewer fire stations, Mark Andrews, the Borough Commander for Lewisham, said: “Any proposals will be carefully considered to ensure that the local community receive a safe and efficient service.

“Alongside attendance time our focus, as always, is the quality of the service we deliver and maintaining the safety of our crews.”

Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority will discuss the plans on Monday, January 21.

The Fire Brigades Union is set to protest outside the meeting that will take place at the London Fire Brigade headquarters in Union Street, Southwark.

Andrews added: “I am aware of some local opposition, as there always is when any public utility is threatened by change or closure.”

A final decision on the plan is expected to be made at the Authority meeting on June 20, once a period of public consultations has ended.

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