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Plans to permanently cut Romford fire engine go to consultation

PUBLISHED: 10:43 09 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:43 09 December 2015

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson. Picture: Polly Hancock

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

London Fire Brigade's plan to plug a £6.4million funding gap by removing 13 of the capital's fire engines - including one from Romford - have been put to public consultation.

The brigade needs to make £13.2m of savings from its 2016/2017 budget, with £6.8m already accounted for.

The Commissioner of London Fire Brigade (LFB) has recommended the permanent removal of the 13 engines – which have been in storage for two years. Their removal would save the LFB £11m annually.

A second option, preferred by the some of members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, recommends putting the 13 engines back in service and making savings by introducing alternate crews at some stations with special appliances. Figures show the brigade has breached its eight-minute target this year and last year for a second engine to reach a fire in Havering. Its own figures show second response times will get worse if a Romford engine is permanently lost.

Speaking to the Recorder last week commissioner Ron Dobson admitted more needs to be done to ensure firefighters reach blazes in Havering faster but defended the axing of engines.

He said: “If the second engine did come back it would help second response times in that area, but I’ve always said we do plan cover on a London-wide and a borough-wide basis.

“Unfortunately Havering is already outside target, so we need more than just that fire engine going back to improve that.”

Mr Dobson has suggested building and moving fire stations would be a more effective in reducing waiting times than bringing engines back into use.

Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Gareth Bacon AM, said: “The consultation is a chance for Londoners to have their say on our budget proposals and how the authority can save £6.4m.

“Over the next eight weeks we’ll be holding public meetings and talking to a variety of stakeholders to get their opinions. If you want your voice heard I urge everyone to visit our website and tell us what they think.”

To make your views known email consultation@london-fire.gov.uk or click here

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