Two fire stations and four fire engines originally due to be axed are to be saved according to papers due to be considered by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) next week.
London Fire Brigade managers, led by Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, originally drew up plans to axe 12 stations and 18 fire engines and cut 520 jobs in order to meet cuts in central Government and City Hall funding.
A majority of LFEPA members opposed the plans and only approved a public consultation after Mayor Boris Johnson used his power to direct the authority to proceed. As part of the consultation the authority held a series of meetings, allowing Londoners to question senior fire brigade officials and authority members about the closures.
On Wednesday the brigade published details of the final plans and thanked those Londoners who took part in the consultation.
Announcing publication of the papers, Commissioner Dobson said fire stations at Clapham and New Cross which were originally earmarked for closure will remain open. Planned closures of Belsize, Bow, Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminster and Woolwich stations will now go-ahead.
The number of fire engines being axed has been reduced to 14 and the brigade will also lose two of its 16 specialist rescue vehicles.
The number of jobs to be cut will increase from 520 to 552.
In a statement, Commissioner Dobson said: “Under my revised proposals response times in London will remain amongst the very best of any emergency service in the UK and firefighters will continue to carry out community safety work to prevent fires at the same level as they do now.
“Fire stations and fire engines do not stop fires happening – proactive prevention work does.”
Commenting on the final proposals Navin Shah, Labour’s fire spokesperson on the London Assembly, said: “I’m pleased that the Mayor has listened to local residents and has scrapped his reckless plans to close Clapham and New Cross Fire Stations. However, he needs to keep open the other 10 fire stations and 14 fire engines that he is trying to cut.
“At public meetings Londoners spoke with one voice against these cuts. Why has Boris not listened to Londoners fully and saved the other stations and engines as well? This looks like he is trying to divert attention from his other cuts, but we will keep fighting them as they are totally unnecessary.”
Green party London Assembly Member, Darren Johnson AM commented: “I congratulate residents in Clapham and New Cross for seeing off the threat of closure for their stations, but the fight to save the other stations will go on. The delays in response times the cuts will cause could literally mean the difference between life and death. The Mayor should be listening to the 94% of residents who responded to his consultation by opposing any station closures.
“These unnecessary proposals for closures are a result of the Mayor’s trivial 7p a week council tax cut. He still has the chance to put public safety before this gimmick, guaranteeing the fire brigade enough funding to keep the stations open, the engines running and the firefighters in post.”
Opposition groups on the Assembly had unsuccessfully attempted to amend the Mayor’s budget and scrap his planned cut in council tax, a move they said would have allowed the fire stations to remain open.
Liberal Democrat AM Stephen Knight said: “It is the Mayor’s stubbornness alone that is driving forward these savage cuts in London’s fire service which will drive up response times across large parts of London.”
“The only reason that the Mayor is still forcing through savage closures to London’s fire services is merely because of an ideological obsession with cutting the council tax by a paltry seven pence a week for most households.”
The final proposals will be discussed by LFEPA members at a public meeting on Thursday 18 July.