East London residents urged to have their say over future of fire service‏

East London residents have been urged to have their say over changes to their fire service. Local London Assembly Member John Biggs AM made the call after the London Fire Brigade launched a consultation over proposals to meet £6.4m of budget cuts demanded by the Mayor. Local people are able to choose from two options, one which will see the permanent removal of 13 fire engines, and the other which will focus on back office efficiencies, allowing the 13 engines to be returned. A public meeting to discuss the future of fire services in East London including Tower Hamlets, Newham and Barking and Dagenham, will take place this Wednesday, 20th January.

Proposals set out in London Fire Brigade’s consultation include plans to permanently axe 13 fire engines, which could potentially see the removal of an engine at Poplar, Stratford and Plaistow stations in Tower Hamlets and Newham. However, Mr Biggs warned that cutting more fire engines could exacerbate a recent rise in response times across the capital. Of the 84 wards in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and the City of London, 73 saw a rise in response times in 2014/15, when compared with the previous year, before Boris Johnson’s closure of 10 fire stations and scrapping of 14 engines.

Alternative proposals set out by Andrew Dismore AM, Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Resource Committee, would meet the savings target through back office efficiencies and changing working patterns, enabling the 13 engines to be returned.

A public meeting to discuss both proposals and their impact for East London will take place at The Old Town Hall in Stratford at 7pm on Wednesday 20th January.

Labour London Assembly Member for City and East, John Biggs AM, said:

“With our fire services facing uncertain times, and response times already rising significantly in East London, it’s important that local people have their say over the future of London’s fire service.

“The Mayor of London’s cuts mean that there are very tough decisions ahead. If you take fire engines out of service then of course response times could rise and lives could be put at risk. Nobody wants to see that happen. With frontline services at stake, it hugely important that local people are given the opportunity to make their views known.”

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