Jan 21 2013 Harrow Observer
FIRE stations in Harrow and Brent look set to be saved from cost-cutting closures across the city branded ‘dangerous and wrong’.
London Fire Brigade has earmarked 12 stations to close and 18 fire engines to be taken out of action as part of the draft fifth London Safety Plan. It was published on Friday last week in a bid to make £28.8million worth of savings over the next two years while maintaining response time targets.
Under the proposals, Stanmore Fire Station in Honeypot Lane, Stanmore, could gain one engine to bring it up to two – news welcomed by London Assembly Member for Harrow and Brent, Navin Shah, who raised concerns last year that stations in Harrow and Brent could close.
Mr Shah told the Observer: “It is obviously a good thing. However, I am not happy about the cuts and closures around London – this will have an effect on Harrow. The impact on the borough might not be visible straight away, but in a year or so people will see a change.
“Firefighters will not be able to reach their target time, if fire engines are being taken away and fire stations are closing.”
London has 169 fire engines and 112 fire stations and under the proposals would have 151 fire engines, 100 fire stations, plus a river boat station.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has condemned the London-wide proposals and London secretary, Paul Embery, said: “These proposed cuts are dangerous and wrong. “If they are implemented, they will undoubtedly jeopardise the safety of Londoners and firefighters alike.”
Commissioner of London Fire Brigade, Ron Dobson, said he hopes to roll out the proposals later this year after a 10-week public consultation starts on Monday.
Mr Dobson said: “Like virtually every other public service, the Brigade needs to make savings. In the last four years, we have cut £52m without reducing front-line services.
“Additional savings cannot be found without making significant changes to how we keep London safe. ”