Lambeth ask US Embassy to lobby over fire cuts

12 stations will close under  the proposals which will now be consulted on. Image: LFEPA

12 stations will close under the proposals which will now be consulted on. Image: LFEPA

Lambeth council has asked the US Ambassador to lobby against the closure of Clapham fire station.

The station is one of 12 due to be closed under a new draft safety plan currently being consulted on by the capital’s fire authority.

The plans, which follow a reduction in central Government funding, have been criticised by opposition groups on the London Assembly, Westminster Council and the Fire Brigades Union.

However Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson has described the closures as a necessary part of the Fire Brigade’s efforts to absorb the £45m funding cut.

He also repeatedly promised that the closures will not endanger Londoners, although critics say response times in some areas are set to increase.

As part of Lambeth’s campaign against the station’s closure, Council leader Lib Peck has written to US Ambassador Louis B. Susman asking whether he will “willing to raise this issue of concern with the Mayor.”

The Embassy is set to re-locate the Nine Elms areas which is served by Clapham fire station.

In the letter Cllr Peck says: “We expected that given the increasing numbers of people living and working in Nine Elms, and the obvious security and safety needs of your new Embassy, the Mayor and his fire authority would have increased the level of fire cover in Nine Elms. However despite the clear need for additional resources to be deployed in this area, which is seeing such rapid expansion and development, the Mayor is actually proposing to reduce the levels of fire cover.”

However the letter fails to note that the Embassy owes Londoners’ more than £7m in unpaid congestion charge fees and penalty notices, enough to keep the station open for a number of years, or ask that the Embassy make good on the debt to secure the fire cover the council believes is needed.