LFB outlines cost saving proposals
14 Jan 2013
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has outlined a number of proposals to save money over the next three years while ensuring that frontline services are maintained and fire safety is upheld.
In its Draft Fifth London Safety Plan, it sets out a number of ways in which £28.8 million worth of cost savings can be made without reducing response times to incidents around the capital.
At present, the first fire engine arrives at an emergency within an average of six minutes of a call being made, while the second, if required, usually arrives within eight minutes.
The brigade is confident that it can close down 12 fire stations and reduce the number of fire engines from two to one at seven stations without affecting these response times.
Among the stations to be closed under these new proposals are Westminster, Clapham, Bow, Southwark, New Cross and Knightsbridge.
Chingford, Hayes, Peckham and Leytonstone are among those that would lose a fire engine, while four stations - Hendon, Orpington, Stanmore and Twickenham - would all gain one.
LFB claims the plans are designed to ensure that fire engines are located where they are most needed in order to keep the city's residents as safe as possible.
This will involve moving some of them to areas in outer London, where response times are currently slower than they are in central London.
Commenting on the plans, Ron Dobson, commissioner of the LFB, said: "Like virtually every other public service, the brigade needs to make savings.
"In the last four years, we have cut £52 million without reducing frontline services. Additional savings cannot be found without making significant changes to how we keep London safe.
"In the last decade, demand for the Brigade's service has changed dramatically and it's time to reflect that in how our fire stations, engines and staff are organised."
He added: "I am confident these savings can be made while keeping London safe."
Also outlined in the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan are proposals to start charging for persistent false fire alarms, encourage the installation of sprinkler systems where it is deemed appropriate and to look into the possibility of setting up a Twitter feed for emergency calls.
All of the plans will be discussed by members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority on January 21st and final decisions will be made on June 20th following a public consultation.
There are no known plans of Station closures in Scotland, although that may change after the re-organisation with 8 Fire & Rescue Services being formed into 1 Scottish Fire Service. We will keep you informed.