London Fire Brigade cuts: Havering will be without a fire rescue unit within six weeks, Boris Johnson confirms
PUBLISHED: 16:09 05 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:39 06 August 2013
Hornchurch Fire Station will lose its specialist fire rescue unit in the next six weeks, it was confirmed today.
The machine, Havering’s only specialist engine for rescuing people from road crashes, floods and chemical spills, will go as part of £28.8million cuts to the London Fire Brigade, given the go-ahead by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) had vigorously opposed the cuts. Union man and former Hornchurch firefighter Joe Mcveigh told the Recorder last week he believed the Hornchurch FRU was among the capital’s busiest, contrary to official LFB figures.
Both the London Assembly and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority – which runs the London Fire Brigade – voted against the cuts, with Havering and Redbridge assembly member Roger Evans (Conservative) one of the minority who supported them.
But the mayor wasn’t swayed by either group.
London-wide, the cuts will see 10 stations, 14 engines and more than 550 jobs slashed.
The Mayor said he wanted the changes implemented by September 16.
Initially 12 fire stations had been set for closure but Clapham and New Cross were saved when Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson revised his proposals.
Mr Dobson has stressed that safety standards would not be affected by closures and job losses.
“Under my revised proposals, response times in London will remain amongst the very best of any emergency service in the UK and firefighters will continue to carry out community safety work to prevent fires at the same level as they do now,” he said.
But the FBU have persistently rejected his assurances.
Responding to the news, FBU executive member for London Ian Leahair said: “The cuts are dangerous and wrong, and this is devastating news for Londoners, with lives across the capital being put at risk by the Mayor’s reckless cuts.
“Johnson has simply ignored the evidence, and his cuts will mean slower response times for four million Londoners.”
A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said: “The authority has now received and is considering the Mayor’s direction.”
Without the Hornchurch FRU, Havering’s nearest specialist rescue engines will be based at East Ham and Bethnal Green. Millwall’s unit has also been earmarked for the chop.
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