A group of London Labour councils is making a last-ditch appeal to the Secretary of State to halt cuts to 10 Fire Stations, including Westminster Fire Station in Greycoat Place.
The Mayor of London decided earlier this month that 10 fire stations will be closed, together with the loss of 14 fire engines and 552 operational posts.
Now eight councils – Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Islington, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest – have written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government asking him to overrule the Mayor’s decision.
The councils have argued that the Mayor’s decision ignores the fire risks posed by potential terrorist targets and a concentration of tourist attractions as well as social and student housing in the affected boroughs. It also ignores the challenges of fighting fires in high rise buildings.
As a result, the Mayor’s decision will create disproportionate public safety risks in certain boroughs.
The councils are asking the Secretary of State to exercise his power to direct the Mayor to revoke a direction that is inconsistent with the Fire and Rescue National Framework.
Councillor Paul Convery, executive member for community safety for Islington Council, which is leading the appeal on behalf of the eight councils, said:
“We are standing together on behalf of our communities, and believe these cuts will make many of our residents less safe. We believe the Mayor’s decision is flawed and will do everything in our power to stop these fire stations from closing, and to stop fire engines from being lost.”
If the appeal to the Secretary of State is unsuccessful, the eight councils are also preparing to seek a judicial review of the Mayor’s decision.
The 10 stations facing closure are Westminster, Belsize in Camden, Bow in Tower Hamlets, Clerkenwell in Islington, Downham in Lewisham, Kingsland in Hackney, Knightsbridge in Kensington and Chelsea, Silvertown in Newham, Southwark and Woolwich in Greenwich. Waltham Forest stands to lose three fire appliances under the cuts.