Ten London Fire Stations Closed This Morning

kingslandroadfirestation_090114London’s fire service closures took place at 9.30am today. Belsize, Bow, Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminster and Woolwich fire stations are now closed; Chingford, Hayes, Leyton, Leystonstone, Peckham and Whitechapel stations are reduced from two fire engines to one; East Greenwich, Hendon, Orpington, Stanmore and Twickenham stations gain an engine. Two Fire Rescue Units have been lost and more than 550 firefighters no longer have a job.

The closures are a response to a reduction in the fire service’s budget, set by the Mayor last year. There was a lengthy battle in the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and courts to try and overturn the plans, all of which were rejected by Boris Johnson and the High Court. Opponents said that the 7p a week council tax cut we’re enjoying this year would have paid for the cuts, saving £28.8m over two years. Boris rejected these claims.

Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson says Londoners are just as safe under this new configuration, and highlights that crews attend far fewer fires these days than just 10 years ago. But even before the changes, 267 of London’s 624 wards were outside the target response time anyway. ‘Safe’ is relative.

There were protests outside Clerkenwell, Belsize, Kingsland, Southwark, Bow, Downham and Woolwich stations this morning and some emotional goodbye messages from stations – particularly Clerkenwell, which has been running for 140 years.

Photo by Ken from the Londonist Flickr pool

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  • kasyus

    Fire deaths in London went up 13% last year: 50 in 2013, up from 44 in 2012. Dangerous clown of a Mayor says ~ I mean LIES ~ that fire deaths are going down & shuts 10 fire stations.

  • James Guppy

    BOO! Who is London being run for anyway?

  • Stuart Dean

    It’s a combination of sadness, shock and disgust. How the hell can he keep a nonsensical cable car running and be throwing money at cycling lanes like there’s no tomorrow at the expense of these emergency services? It has already been PROVEN with NO DOUBT that lives have been saved in the last month that once the changes take effect would not have been.
    An abhorrent abuse of position, and using the flimsiest of statistics to “prove it” only shows the contempt they clearly think we deserve being treated with.

    Shame on Boris. Shame on all of them.

  • Richard

    I wonder how true the idea is that firefighters spend most of their time playing pool, using the gym, and cooking gourmet food? If it there is more than a grain of truth in that perhaps we could look at other useful work they could do when not training or on a job? (As if unions would tolerate such a thing.)

    Does London have any on-call part-time firefighters? That’d be a fun thing to do – and they’d probably be paid (unlike Special Constables).

  • Thomas Casey

    Johnson is a dangerous and ruthless politician that comes across as a bit of a buffoon which puts people at ease, but he is the most ambitious of the Tories and will eliminate anybody to get to the top. I can see through you Mr Johnson.