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Fire chiefs' average response time targets will not be met in four Hackney wards if Kingsland closes

PUBLISHED: 11:33 10 May 2013 | UPDATED: 13:55 15 May 2013

Fire station at Kingsland road

Fire station at Kingsland road

Archant

Statistics published this week by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) show their proposals to shut 12 London fire stations - including Kingsland - would adversely affect 41 London wards, including Dalston, De Beauvoir, New River and Queensbridge in Hackney.

New figures published this week show fire chiefs’ average response time targets will not be met in four Hackney wards should proposals to close Kingsland fire station go ahead.

The new statistics from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) show their proposals to shut 12 London fire stations would adversely affect response times in 41 London wards, including Dalston, De Beauvoir, New River and Queensbridge.

In January the fire station in Kingsland Road, Haggerston, was named as one of 12 stations across the capital earmarked for closure under LFB plans to save £28.2 million over the next two years.

The LFB said they attend half as many fires as a decade ago and claimed the proposals would still enable them to meet response time targets of getting the first fire engine to an emergency on average across London within six minutes and the second fire engine, if needed, within eight minutes.

But new published figures show the wards closest to Kingsland in Kingsland Road will be hit hard, with response times in Dalston increasing from 5.18 to 6.59 minutes if Kingsland closes, and most shocking of all in De Beauvoir from 4.24 to 7.37 minutes.

Meanwhile in Queensbridge average response times are predicted to increase from 5 minutes to 6.43 minutes and in New River from 5.56 minutes to 6.01 minutes. Local Labour London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold OBE said the figures were “truly scandalous” and have “blow a hole” in the LFB’s case for cuts.

“The cuts will mean that people across our city will have to wait significantly longer for a fire engine to arrive in the event of an emergency,” she said.

“This might not sound a lot but a fire can quadruple in intensity every two minutes. “No wonder they didn’t release this information sooner.”

MP for Hackney South, Meg Hillier agreed the figures are “shocking”.

Ms Hillier had already raised the response time targets at a meeting with fire chiefs, when she was told the figures were based on real fires.

“If it’s 2am it’s easy to get from Homerton to De Beauvoir quickly but rush hour is a whole different game.

“You have to look at the “what ifs”, fire is all about risk and dealing with risky situations broad averages don’t work, we asked them to look at the extremes.

“These increases show the real issue about the closure of fire station – an increase of more than three minutes in time shows they need to go back and revisit the recommendation to close Kingsland fire station, it puts it in a whole different light.”

An LFB spokesman 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,” he said.

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

Chair of the London Fire Authority James Cleverly said the proposals will enable the service to be within the six minute target across more of London’s boroughs than what is being achieved at present.

A public meeting about the proposals takes place at 7pm on Monday May 20 in Stoke Newington Town Hall, Stoke Newington Church Street.

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