London councils launch legal action to fight fire stations cuts

One of 14 LFB fire engines facing the cuts. Photo: Vera Kratochvil

One of 14 LFB fire engines facing the cuts. Photo: Vera Kratochvil

Seven London Councils, including Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Lewisham, have initiated legal action against the Mayor of London and the Fire Commissioner to try and save fire stations across London.

The application for a judicial review of the London Safety Plans was issued on Thursday October 3 at the Royal Courts of Justice. The councils also applied for an injunction which would prevent the cuts being applied until a decision is made on the judicial review.

Councillor Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, said: “Calling for a judicial review is the final step in a fight which has seen our repeated appeals to the Mayor of London to rethink his damaging fire cuts fall on deaf ears.  It is now necessary to take this action in order to protect the lives of many Londoners including the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Lewisham was the last borough to join the cause on Wednesday, after Mayor of Lewisham Steve Bullock decided that the Council would be joining forces with the six other authorities

He said: “Boris Johnson’s decision to close Downham Fire Station puts the safety of our community at risk. The Mayor has failed to take into account a number of crucial issues and the council will be joining other affected London boroughs in launching a legal challenge to his decision.”

The report presented to the council meeting on Wednesday night pointed out that six of Lewisham’s eighteen wards would fall outside of the average six minute response time if the Mayor of London’s London Safety Plan was implemented.

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “London is a densely populated city, and it requires local, reliable emergency services to keep its residents, businesses and visitors safe.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to prevent the proposed fire station closures and staff losses that have been proposed.”

Three fire stations are threatened in ELL boroughs: Downham in Lewisham, Bow in Tower Hamlets and Kingsland in Hackney.

The London Safety Plan is expected to save £29m. In addition to the closure of the stations, 14 of London’s fire engines and 522 firefighting jobs are to be lost. If the London Safety Plan goes ahead, the stations will close on January 9 2014.

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