London Fire Brigade's Station Closure Plan Nixed

The UK's largest fire department learned July 18 that proposed closures of 10 stations and a reduction in force will not be approved.

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority met July 18 to discuss the London Fire Commissioner's revised Fifth London Safety Plan, which includes a plan for how the London Fire Brigade – the UK's largest fire department -- will operate during the next three years. By a 9-8 vote, the authority's members voted to direct the commissioner to delete all references to 10 station closures, removing 14 pumper trucks, cutting two fire rescue units, and cutting the overall number of firefighters by 552 that are in the plan, according to a release posted by the brigade.

This puts the department in a serious bind, at least temporarily, because London's mayor has implemented a 10 percent that will reduce the authority's revenue by £80 million.

The authority called on the mayor to reconsider the council tax cut and instead work with its officers and members "to develop an approach that preserves London's fire cover, saves London's fire stations and balances the budget into the longer term."

The brigade maintained the cuts would still allow its personnel to get the first fire engine to an emergency within an average of six minutes and the second fire engine, if needed, within eight minutes.

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