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Proposed Closure of Downham Fire Station

Volume 566: debated on Monday 15 July 2013

The Petition of residents of South East London,

Declares that the Petitioners regret the £30 million cut to the grant received by the London Fire Brigade for the years 2013-14 and 2014-15; express concern about the proposed closure of Downham Fire Station as set out in the Fifth London Safety Plan; and note that the proposed closure of Downham Fire Station, currently subject to consultation, will increase the average Fire Brigade response time to incidents in the London Borough of Lewisham by 31 seconds.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Communities and Local Government to appeal to the Mayor of London to prioritise public safety and to keep Downham Fire Station open.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Heidi Alexander, Official Report, 19 June 2013; Vol. 564, c. 1022 .]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

The Fire Minister is aware that London Fire Brigade is consulting on fire cover in the London area.

Fire and rescue authorities deliver an incredibly important service for local communities. And the Government have made a clear commitment to ensuring the effectiveness of front-line services. Every bit of the public sector needs to play its part to cut the deficit inherited from the last Administration. Fire and rescue, as a front-line emergency service, has been given funding protection with reductions back-loaded to give more time for sensible savings to be made without impacting on the quality and breadth of services offered to communities.

There is no role for central Government to intervene in local decision making. Fire station closures and other operational issues are quite rightly devolved matters for the London Mayor and Assembly. It is right that the elected members of each Fire and Rescue Authority make decisions on operational proposals in their area, acting on the professional advice of principal fire officers and balancing competing local demands on available resources for the benefits of the communities they serve. People have had opportunities to make their voices heard on such issues. The London Fire Commissioner has stated his commitment to maintaining existing response times.