Last-ditch appeal for Secretary of State to stop London fire cuts

A group of London councils, including Hackney, are making a last-ditch appeal to the Secretary of State to halt cuts to the capital's fire and rescue service.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, decided earlier this month that 10 fire stations will be closed, together with the loss of 14 fire engines and 552 operational posts.

Today, eight councils - Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Islington, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest - have written to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government asking him to overrule the Mayor of London's decision.

The councils have argued that this 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 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 of London to revoke a direction that is inconsistent with the Fire and Rescue National Framework.

Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Hackney Council
We are calling on the Secretary of State to intervene and to help protect Hackney residents from damaging cuts that will endanger lives. We have joined other councils to campaign as this affects so many people across London. Together we will continue to fight to keep fire stations open and to protect the number of fire engines in use.
Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Hackney Council

If the appeal to the Secretary of State is unsuccessful, the eight councils are also preparing to seek a judicial review of the decision.

The 10 stations facing closure are 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, Westminster, and Woolwich in Greenwich. Waltham Forest stands to lose three fire appliances under the cuts.