Islington councillors launch campaign to save fire stations

Labour politicians are calling on Mayor of London Boris Johnson to “think again” over possible cuts to the fire service as they launch a campaign to save Islington’s fire stations.

They claim firefighters will struggle to get to fires within the six-minute target – and that Islington’s residents will not be able to sleep soundly at night – if Islington fire station in Upper Street and Clerkenwell fire station in Rosebery Avenue are closed.

Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for community safety on Labour-run Islington Council, is spearheading the campaign together with borough councillors, London Assembly members and Islington’s MPs.

He said: “It’s a really bad idea closing two fire stations in Islington.

“Residents in the south will rely on appliances coming from Euston fire station. On a day with completely clear roads, it’s just about possible for appliances to come to the south of Islington within six minutes. But most days Euston Road is chock-a-block.

“And you can’t get an engine from Shoreditch to south Islington in six minutes.

“That will leave the south of the borough very thinly served.

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“The north will still be served by Holloway – except when its appliances are heading to the south of the borough.

“This campaign is to say to Boris Johnson: think again. You don’t cut frontline services.”

A leaked document has revealed that 17 fire stations in London have been earmarked for possible closure as part of plans for the London Fire Brigade to save �65million over two years.

Islington fire station, which is home to a pump and a rescue tender, and Grade-II listed Clerkenwell station, which is home to two pumps, a rescue tender, and equipment to deal with biological and nuclear incidents, are on the list – as is Kingsland fire station in Kingsland Road, Hackney.

The London Fire Brigade insists that no figure for the amount of cuts needed has as yet been confirmed by the Mayor of London and that the list of 17 stations is only looking at different scenarios – and is not a list of proposed closures.

Ron Dobson, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said: “Like virtually every other public service, the brigade needs to make savings but the full extent of those savings is not yet known and therefore there are currently no proposals being made.

“It is important that the debate about the future of London’s fire service is based upon facts about the actual amount of savings the Brigade needs to make and the proposals that will be published once this is known.

“Ongoing reports of individual stations closing are nothing but unfounded, sensationalised scare stories.”

A brigade spokesman added that there would be greater clarity after the January 21 meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.