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Islington Council leads fight against fire service cuts

Clerkenwell firefighters will join the strike Clerkenwell firefighters will join the strike

Friday, October 4, 2013
5:28 PM

Islington and Hackney Councils have joined forces with colleagues across London to fight against planned cuts to the capital’s fire service.

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The authorities have linked up with Camden, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets for the first step in calling for a judicial review of the cuts to London’s fire and rescue service.

Under the proposals Clerkenwell and Kingsland fire stations could close along with eight others in different London boroughs.

The proposals are part of Boris Johnnson’s fifth London Safety Plan which aims to save almost £30 million over two years.

The seven councils made an application for permission to apply for a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday October 3.

The councils also applied for an injunction preventing the cuts programme from being put in place until the judicial review application has been considered.

The councils’ legal challenge says the cuts are unlawful, budget-driven

and will have a serious effect on some residents’ lives.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council member for community safety, which is leading the challenge on behalf of the seven councils, said: “We believe we have a strong case and that we will succeed in defending our communities from these cuts which, if they go unchallenged, 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.”

The plans, which were voted through in July by members of the London Fire Authority, will also see more than 500 firefighters lose their jobs.

Opponents have also argued the time it takes for crews to respond to emergencies will grow.

Clerkenwell residents will have to wait a further two minutes seven seconds for a first fire engine to arrive if the cuts go ahead, while Dalston and De Beauvoir will have to wait another 1min 41secs and 3mins 13secs respectively.

If the Mayor’s plans go ahead the fire stations will close on 9 January 2014.

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