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A range of options have been published which outline how London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) can save £8.1m in 2016/7.
Three alternative savings proposals are in the papers, all of which would ensure that no fire stations close and no firefighters would be made compulsorily redundant. The London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson’s, two proposals are based around the permanent removal of 13 fire engines that have already been out of service for two years as part of Brigade’s strike contingency arrangements.
The 13 fire stations that had one of their two fire engines removed in August 2013 were: Chelsea, Ealing, Erith, Forest Hill, Holloway, Old Kent Road, Plaistow, Poplar, Romford, Shoreditch, Stratford, Wandsworth and Willesden.
Last year the number of fires was below 20,000 for the first time since records for Greater London began in 1966 and fire deaths have steadily declined since the 1980s. In 1987, there were 28.5 fire deaths per million residents compared to 3.4 per million in 2014.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said:
“My priority when exploring how we can make these savings is to ensure we don’t compromise our service to Londoners and to avoid compulsory redundancies of firefighters.
“I have identified two possible ways of making these savings that mean we avoid compulsory redundancies for operational staff. We have managed without the 13 fire engines for over two years now and our response times have still remained well within our average attendance time targets.
“My preferred option would also see an increase in the number of staff available to crew our Fire Rescue Units. This will increase the capacity of our crews at complex incidents including terrorism, and improve firefighter skills as there will be more chance to rotate between pumping appliances and our specialist rescue units.”
The other option put forward by the Commissioner suggests removing 10 fire engines. These would be the first 10 listed in the priority order for removal from the existing locations. This would mean that the second pumps currently removed for contingency purposes would be returned to Wandsworth, Willesden and Forest Hill stations once they were no longer needed for contingency purposes.
The proposals will be discussed by members of LFEPA on Wednesday, 2 December and there will be a full public consultation on how the Brigade will find the savings.