London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade publishes savings proposals

11 January 2013

The Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade has today published proposals for the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan which outlines how the Brigade will continue to keep Londoners safe over the next three years.  Included in the plan are details of how he proposes to make savings worth £28.8m over the next two years while maintaining existing response time targets.

The savings come against a backdrop of the Brigade:

  • Attending half as many fires compared to a decade ago
  • A third fewer house fires than a decade ago
  • Almost a third fewer incidents altogether

Under the proposals, the Brigade would maintain its existing average target response time of getting its first fire engine to an emergency within six minutes and the second fire engine, if needed, within eight minutes. This is amongst the fastest target response time of any emergency service in the country and almost twice as fast as some other brigades.
The proposals would see 12 fire stations close, seven fire stations that currently have two fire engines moving to one fire engine, and four stations gaining a fire engine. Under the proposals, the Commissioner believes it would be possible to make these changes without making any operational firefighters compulsorily redundant. Details of the proposed changes are:

  • Belsize – Close
  • Bow – Close
  • Clapham – Close
  • Clerkenwell – Close
  • Downham – Close
  • Kingsland – Close
  • Knightsbridge – Close
  • New Cross – Close
  • Silvertown – Close
  • Southwark – Close
  • Westminster – Close
  • Woolwich – Close
  • Chelsea – Two fire engines to one
  • Chingford – 2 to 1
  • Hayes – 2 to 1
  • Leyton – 2 to 1
  • Leytonstone – 2 to 1
  • Peckham – 2 to 1
  • Whitechapel – 2 to 1
  • Hendon – One fire engine to two
  • Orpington – 1 to 2
  • Stanmore – 1 to 2
  • Twickenham – 1 to 2

The plans have been designed to modernise London’s network of fire stations so that fire engines are located where they are most needed to keep today’s city safe, rather than being situated based on historical factors. This will see some fire engines moved to locations in outer London, where response times have traditionally been slower.

For example, central London still has more fire stations than outer London, in part because it used to be far more densely populated before people moved out to the suburbs. Similarly, other parts of London have a relatively high number of fire stations due to the types of buildings that used to be there, like docks or factories.

The proposals are part of the Commissioner’s Draft Fifth London Safety Plan, which also sets out how the Brigade may start recovering costs from persistent false alarm offenders, encourage the installation of sprinkler systems where appropriate, and explore setting up the world’s first 999 twitter feed.
Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority will discuss the plan on Monday 21 January at 1400. A final decision on the plan is expected to be made at the Authority meeting on 20 June, following a public consultation.

Ron Dobson, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said:

“Like virtually every other public service, the Brigade needs to make savings. In the last four years, we have cut £52m 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.

“Having spent 33 years as a firefighter serving the capital I know how important it is to respond to incidents as quickly as possible and I have every intention of maintaining our current response time targets for first and second fire engines. With all the work we do to prevent fires happening, and response times that are still amongst the best in the country, I am confident these savings can be made while keeping London safe.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For a full copy of the proposals contained within the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan, please visit
http://www.london.gov.uk/LFEPA/mgAi.aspx?ID=1016#mgDocuments