Hundreds of firefighters protest outside Fire Brigade headquarters as Mayor of London backs cuts

Pic: Ian Britton

A 500-strong contingent of  firefighters and members of the Fire Brigade Union protested on Monday against the proposed cuts to fire services throughout the city.

The protests took place outside the London Fire Brigade’s headquarter in Southwark as the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority met to discuss the Fifth London Safety Plan draft and moves to close 12 fire stations.

However, despite the protests and opposition from other political parties, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced that he will go ahead with the proposals. He said: “This consultation will continue as planned. I will be issuing a mayoral directive to ensure it does.”

Before Johnson spoke about the proposals, which were put to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority yesterday by Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson with support of Johnson, were defeated by 9 votes to 8. The Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green representatives voted against the plan while the Tory group voted in favour.

The draft aims to save £45m through cuts. As a consequence, 12 fire stations, including Bow station in Tower Hamlets, Kingsland station in Hackney and Lewisham’s Downham and New Cross stations in East London, will close down, meaning that some 520 firefighters could face redundancy.

Paul Embery, the Fire Brigade Union’s regional secretary for London, stated after the meeting yesterday: “The mayor’s unprecedented move raises all sorts of questions about democracy and accountability.

“He should listen to his fire authority; he should listen to the workforce, and he should listen to Londoners, the vast majority of whom oppose these cuts. If he pushes ahead, we will campaign vigorously to defend London’s fire service.”

“We welcome the decision of the Fire Authority to reject these reckless and dangerous cuts. It was the right outcome. But Boris Johnson’s intervention is deplorable”.

New Cross residents spoke to Eastlondonlines about the closure of their local fire station.

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