DELAYS to fire crews in Walthamstow have risen by nearly 50 per cent since Mini-Holland road closures began, a freedom of information request has revealed.

The data from the London Fire Brigade shows the number of delays within the E17 postal code from 2010 to 2016.

All recorded delays were due to traffic, roadworks and other similar causes including road closures, though the LFB could not specify exactly how many were down to Mini-Holland.

In 2010, crews recorded 105 delays and this figure has largely been decreasing until 2015, where crews were delayed 66 times.

A year later in 2016 this number increases by 47 per cent to 97 delays recorded by Walthamstow crews.

While delays to crews dramatically increased in 2016, it has not had a noticeable effect on the average attendance time in the same area, which at five minutes and nine seconds is the fastest for six years.

Deputy leader cllr Clyde Loakes was quick to deny Mini-Holland’s impact on fire crew delays.

He said: “There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that these delays have any connection to the Mini-Holland programme.

“As we have stated on a number of occasions, all three of the emergency services are statutory consultees, and are therefore consulted on any changes that we make.

“The London Fire Brigade have not raised any objection to the scheme to date.”

London Fire Brigade Borough Commander of Waltham Forest, Jamie Jenkins said the data provided includes every possible traffic issue. 

He added: "To suggest it is solely based on the Mini-Holland project would be inaccurate.

"Our attendance times in the borough are among the best in London with a first fire engine arriving on average in four minutes and 56 seconds and a second in six minutes and 45 seconds.

"Both are well within our average attendance time targets of six minutes for a first and eight minutes for a second.”

A Waltham Forest firefighter, who does not want to be named, rejected the claim Mini-Holland has had no effect on delays.

He said: “On numerous times I’ve spoken to the LAS and the police after incidents and they’ve all said it’s a nightmare, it’s a hindrance.

“It’s causing a hassle.”

Before Mini-Holland the firefighter said crews from the Walthamstow Fire Station, in Forest Road, would use Greenleaf Road to reach incidents on the other side of Hoe Street and Bakers Arms.

He added: “It would cut out driving all the way down to The Bell pub and doing a right there.

“It’s down to Mini-Holland, it’s pushing all the traffic onto the main roads.

“I live in Chingford and I used to be able to get to work in 15 minutes. Now it takes me 35 minutes, it is just ridiculous.

“Everything is funnelled onto the main roads and you just can’t get around the borough any more.

“It’s definitely hindering the crews in Walthamstow.”