Lib Dems add voices to concerns over fire brigade cuts (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Lib Dems add voices to concerns over fire brigade cuts in Waltham Forest
The Liberal Democrats in Waltham Forest have added their voices to concerns about plans to cut the number of fire engines in the borough.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has proposed reducing the number of vehicles based at Chingford, Leyton and Leytonstone fire stations from two to one as part of measures to save £28.8million.
Last month Leyton Labour MP John Cryer launched a campaign against the plans, calling them "reckless in the extreme".
Now the Lib Dem group have joined in and started their own petition, claiming the measures are short-sighted when the borough's population is rising.
The LFB insists that response times to call-outs will not be affected by the cuts and said it is confident safety will not be compromised.
It also says the number of incidents it is called to in London has dropped by nearly a third in ten years.
But Walthamstow Lib Dem Cllr Mahmood Hussain said: “Fewer engines will mean there are fewer and less mobile fire fighters protecting our borough.
“These cuts are short-sighted. The number of fire engine mobilisations in the borough increased from 5,449 in 2005/06 to 5,607 between 2011 and 2012.
"The population of the borough is still growing, which means more people and more houses to protect.”
Cllr Hussain added that he hoped the Conservatives would also oppose the plans.
Ron Dobson, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, previously said the cuts, which also include the proposed closure of 12 fire stations elsewhere in London, would not affect safety.
He said: "Additional savings cannot be found without making significant changes to how we keep London safe...
"I have every intention of maintaining our current response time targets for first and second fire engines.
"With all the work we do to prevent fires happening, and response times that are still amongst the best in the country, I am confident these savings can be made while keeping London safe.”
A public consultation is currently being held into the proposals and a final decision is expected to be made by the LFB in June.
Visit http://www.london.gov.uk/LFEPA/mgAi.aspx?ID=1016#mgDocuments for more information.
The Lib Dem's petition can be accessed at http://eepurl.com/uZtFb
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