Public consultation on London Fire Brigade changes

The London Fire Brigade’s public consultation on the proposed changes contained within the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan, will host the first of 24 public meetings on Monday 25 March in Barking and Dagenham.

I hope that the meetings will be well attended and that Londoners will participate and view the details of the Fire Brigade’s plan with an open mind. I will be going a number of these public meetings including every borough meeting for which the closure of a station is planned. I hope that these meetings will cut through much of the misinformation that currently surround these proposals and explain why I believe this is the best available option for the London Fire Brigade.

I have written before about the funding settlement from central government and what this means for the London Fire Brigade. It is still vital that firefighters reach fires quickly, and it is important to note that the plans for the future of our Brigade maintain the current target response times of 6.00 minutes for the first fire engine and 8.00 minutes for the second. Although the closure of fire stations will lead to response times in certain boroughs slowing by some seconds, they will still fall well within these targets – amongst the fastest of any emergency service in the country and almost twice as fast as some other fire brigades.

I understand the unease that the closure of fire stations may bring to Londoners; but these proposals are based on the serious research and expertise of senior London fire officers, some of the world’s most experienced fire fighters. They are not only confident the risk of fire in London will continue to reduce year on year but that when they do occur, the London Fire Brigade will maintain its ability to respond rapidly, professionally, and when needed on mass.

I fully support this plan because it presents a package of reforms that will ensure our Fire Brigade can continue to expertly deliver the vital service on which we all depend – while facing its financial challenges head on.

The public meetings presently scheduled are as follows, with other times and dates to be finalised soon:

· Barking and Dagenham, Monday, 25 March, 7pm-9pm at Boothroyd Hall, Castle Green, Gale Street, RM9 4UN
· Barnet, Enfield and Haringey on Thursday, 18 April 7-9pm at Haringey Council Chamber, Haringey Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE
· Bexley, Bromley and Croydon on Thursday, 23 May 7-9pm at Bromley Central Library, High Street, Bromley BR1 1EX
· Brent and Harrow on Tuesday, 16 April 7-9pm at Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow HA1 2XY
· Hackney on Monday, 20 May 7-9pm at Hackney Assembly Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, Stoke Newington Church Street N16 0JR
· Hammersmith and Fulham, Thursday, 28 March, 7pm-9pm at Hammersmith Assembly Hall, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 9JU
· Hillingdon, Tuesday, 2 April, 7pm-9pm at Hillingdon Town Hall, Middlesex Suite, Hillingdon Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1UW
· Islington, Tuesday, 28 May, 7pm-9pm in the Assembly Hall at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD
· Kensington and Chelsea, Monday, 10 June, 7pm-9pm in the Kensington Small Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX
· Lambeth on Thursday, 16 May 7-9pm at Lambeth Assembly Hall, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RW
· Lewisham on Wednesday, 22 May 7-9pm at Sydenham School, Dartmouth Road, London SE26 4RD
· Newham, Wednesday, 8 May, 7pm-9pm at Newham Town Hall, East Ham, Barking Road, E6 2RP
· Southwark on Tuesday, 14 May 7-9pm at Committee Room 4 and 5, Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA
· Tower Hamlets on Tuesday, 7 May 7-9pm at Skeel Lecture Theatre, People’s Palace Building, Queen Mary University, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
· Waltham Forest, Tuesday, 9 April at 7pm-9pm at Chingford Assembly Hall, Station Road, Chingford, E4 7EN
· Wandsworth, Thursday, 4 April, 7pm-9pm at The Open Door Community Centre, Keevil Drive, Beaumont Road, London, SW19 6TF
· Westminster, Wednesday, 15 May, 7pm-9pm at Regent Hall at the Salvation Army at 275 Oxford Street, London, W1C 2DJ

Once the consultation is complete the results will be collated and presented to the Fire Authority so that a final draft of the London Safety Plan can be produced.  This will be in June/July of this year.

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