- Fire call out response times in Bow to almost double
- Closures and cuts will put lives at risk
- Mayor and Independent councillors don’t even turn up
Labour councillors joined London Assembly member John Biggs and MP Rushanara Ali at a key public consultation meeting last night on Boris Johnson’s plans to close Bow fire station and halve the number of fire engines at Whitechapel station.
Standing alongside firefighters from Bow the Labour politicians criticised Boris’ plans revealing official figures that suggest that first engine response times in Bow will increase by over 3 minutes to almost 7 ½ minutes, with a second fire engine taking over 9 minutes to arrive at incidents in Bow East.
Labour warned that the plans would put lives at risk, especially those living in Bow’s densely populated tower blocks and criticised Boris Johnson for failing in his duty to protect residents.
With the fire station closures being seen as one of the most significant public safety issues facing the borough Labour condemned the Mayor and his independent councillors’ failure to attend the public consultation meeting. This is not the first time the Mayor has been criticised for not speaking up for the borough on public safety, earlier this year the Mayor was absent at two important meetings for borough leaders to express their residents’ concerns about the police and fire station closure plans and has offered no reason as to why.
Leader of the Labour Group and councillor for Bow West, Cllr Joshua Peck, said:
“When your home is burning and your loved ones are at risk a 3 minute extra wait could be the difference between life and death. Boris Johnson consistently says that lives will not be put at risk but under his plans it will take almost twice as long for fire engines to reach residents in Bow.
“Whether closing Bow fire station or halving the number of engines at Whitechapel there is no doubt that axing our fire service will endanger residents. This is not a political point, this is a public safety point, when the Mayor’s own figures show he is wrong he should know he needs to back down.”
Labour London Assembly Member and Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:
“Tower Hamlets will see the biggest increases in response times of any London Borough if these cuts go through, and residents in Bow will be particularly severely affected by the closure of Parnell Road fire station. In a borough with such a fast growing population, and with so many high-rise buildings – which present additional challenges and risks in the event of fire – this just doesn’t make sense.
“It was a well-attended meeting with many residents and fire fighters coming to oppose the cuts. It was disappointing that nobody from the Mayor’s Office turned up – does he recognise how serious an issue this is?”