London

London fire station closure public consultation to end

A public consultation on plans to close 12 fire stations in London is to end on Monday.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB), which also plans to cut 520 jobs and 18 fire engines, proposes making savings of nearly £29m over two years.

More than 20 public meetings have been held over the proposals, which the LFB said would not affect response times.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says the changes will "jeopardise public safety".

The proposals are in response to budget savings required by the government and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Threatened legal action

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), the body that governs the fire service, has recorded its opposition to the station closures.

The authority had rejected Mr Johnson's order to hold a public consultation but, after he threatened legal action, members voted to authorise it.

LFB Commissioner Ron Dobson has said that, because of improved fire safety, the brigade attends half as many fires as it did 10 years ago.

He believes the brigade can make savings and continue to provide "an excellent emergency response service".

But Paul Embery of the FBU said: "Closing 12 fire stations would have one result, and that would be to jeopardise public safety.

"Longer response times would cost lives."

The consultation will end at midnight.

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