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Islington and Hackney urge the Government to halt fire station closures

PUBLISHED: 20:15 27 August 2013 | UPDATED: 20:16 27 August 2013

The march down Upper Street, photo Dieter Perry

The march down Upper Street, photo Dieter Perry

Archant

A last ditch appeal urging the government to stop fire station closures in Islington and Hackney has been launched.

On Tuesday councils in both boroughs – along with six others across London – formerly wrote to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, asking him to overrule London Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to close 10 fire station including Clerkenwell in Rosebery Avenue, and Kingsland in Kingsland Road, Haggerston, as well as taking away 14 fire engines and lose 552 operational posts.

Hackney and Islington – joined in their fight by Camden, Greenwhich, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest – argue that the decision ignores fire risks posed by potential terrorist targets and a concentration of tourist attractions, as well as social and student housing in the affected boroughs.

It also ignores the challenges of fighting fires in high rise buildings and will create disproportionate public safety risks in certain boroughs, the authorities claim.

The councils are asking Mr Pickles to exercise his power to direct the Mayor of London to revoke a direction that is inconsistent with the Fire and Rescue National Framework.

Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for community safety for Islington Council, which is leading the appeal on behalf of the eight councils, said: “We are standing together on behalf of our communities, and believe these cuts will make many of our residents less safe.

“We believe the Mayor’s decision is flawed and will do everything in our power to stop these fire stations from closing, and to stop fire engines from being lost.”

Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor of Hackney and cabinet member for Community Safety, said: “We are calling on the Secretary of State to intervene and to help protect Hackney residents from damaging cuts that will endanger lives.

“We have joined other councils to campaign as this affects so many people across London. Together we will continue to fight to keep fire stations open and to protect the number of fire engines in use.”

If the appeal to the Secretary of State is unsuccessful, the eight councils are also preparing to seek a judicial review of the decision.

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