Waltham Forest LA representative Jennette Arnold slams Boris Johnson over fire cuts

First published in News East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

Waltham Forest’s London Assembly representative claims Boris Johnson has shown “total contempt” for the borough after a meeting discussing proposals to cut its number of fire engines.

Jennette Arnold slammed the Mayor of London after a session at City Hall was adjourned after people in the public galleries staged a walk-out in protest over the controversial cuts.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the Mayor want to reduce the number of engines based in Chingford, Leyton and Leytonstone from two to one as part of proposals to save £45.5 million over two years.

They also hope to close 18 fire stations and cut 520 firefighter jobs.

Residents condemned the proposals after ward-by-ward statistics provided by the LFB show the reductions could mean response times to fires requiring a second vehicle fall outside an eight-minute response time target.

A consultation on the cuts followed public meetings in all affected boroughs in London, and ended on Monday, with the results due to be presented to the LFB in July.

Ms Arnold said: “Today, Boris Johnson showed total contempt for the residents of north-east London.

“Londoners are fearful for the safety of the areas they live and work in, they are understandably worried about injuries and fatalities from fire.

“Rather than taking on board the wishes of Londoners the mayor has ducked and dived and let them down by evading calls to scrap these plans.”

Under the proposed cuts response times to fires requiring a second vehicle fall outside the eight-minute mark in Chingford Green, Endlebury, Chapel End, High Street, Higham Hill, Hoe Street, Markhouse, Valley and William Morris wards.

The Mayor of London has been approached for comment.

An LFB spokeswoman previously said: “The ward level data shows how varied response times are across the capital. As is the case now, over half of all London wards would, on average, continue to get a first response within the six minute target if the proposals are agreed.

"London would continue to receive a very good service, compared to other emergency services and other parts of the country."

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