Boris Johnson says he will overrule a decision by the capital’s fire authority not to go-ahead with plans to close 12 fire stations.
The proposals are contained in a new draft London Safety Plan which was unveiled last week by Fire Commissioner Rob Dobson, and form part of the fire brigade’s efforts to meet budget cuts.
The closures have been criticised as “reckless and wrong” by the London Fire Brigade Union.
Before the closures can go-ahead, the London Fire Emergency and Planning (LFEPA) must authorise a public consultation on the draft London Safety Plan.
On Monday, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat members of the Authority amended a motion approving the consultation, removing all mention of the closures in an attempt to block them.
However the Mayor, who sets the budget for LFEPA and appoints its members, says he will overrule the Authority by issuing a mayoral directive instructing the Commissioner to proceed with the consultation.
During the meeting, some Labour LFEPA members claimed the closures were unfairly focussed on council areas where their party was in office. Commissioner Dobson dismissed these claims, insisting that the plans were drawn up by him based on evidence and without the input of any politicians.
Green party Assembly Member Darren Johnson told the meeting that the Mayor could prevent the closures by reversing his decision to cut City Hall’s share of the council tax.
Speaking after the meeting, Mayor Johnson said the vote “demonstrates a complete lack of leadership” and said the debate “must and will be about improving London’s fire service, equipping the brigade for the challenges of 21st century firefighting, and maintaining our exceptional response times across both inner and outer London.”
Labour’s Navin Shah accused the Mayor of “forcing through these cuts against the wishes of Londoners” and called on him to “look at reallocating resources from the wider Greater London Authority budget” to safeguard the stations.