Hundreds of local residents marched through Islington on Saturday 8 June to protest against the Mayor of London’s plans to close two fire stations that serve our borough – Clerkenwell and Kingsland.
The major march and rally from Highbury Fields to Clerkenwell Fire Station showed the strength of local opposition to plans that will mean every ward in Islington waiting longer for a fire engine to arrive.
Cllr Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council said: “We must not give up the fight. Nothing is more important than people’s safety and cutting two stations that serve our borough cannot be justified. Once again Tory cuts are putting our community at risk and hitting Islington people hardest”
Emily Thornberry MP, who led the march, said: “Clerkenwell fire station has been serving Islington for more than 100 years and it is the most densely populated area in the country -; we want to be properly protected”.
The march came at the end of a week where new evidence was revealed showing that residents in Islington will be among the worst affected in London by the cuts.
The London Fire Brigade evidence showed that under the Mayor’s proposals, over a quarter of all fire engine call outs in the borough will now take longer for the first fire engine to arrive than the recommended standard time of 6 minutes. Based on the number of incidents in the borough for 2011/12 this would mean that 217 extra incidents would fall outside of the recommended 6 minute timeframe.
Islington Labour’s Fire Chief Cllr. Paul Convery said: ‘These figures are truly shocking. Every second counts when responding to fire emergencies and if well over 200 extra incidents fall outside the recommended response time the safety of Islington residents will be at risk. The LFB introduced standard response times for a good reason, and for so many extra call outs to fall outside this time is completely unacceptable.’
The campaign continues. Islington Council has submitted a formal response to the consultation, which you can read here, and Cllr Paul Convery has submitted a public question to the next London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority on 20 June demanding answers on third appliance response times.