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City Hall votes in favour of cuts to specialist Dagenham fire crew

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 February 2016

Firefighters inside the new multi-million pound Dagenham fire station

Firefighters inside the new multi-million pound Dagenham fire station

Archant

Firefighters await the mayor of London’s final decision after plans to scrap specialist Dagenham crews were backed by City Hall.

This morning’s vote sparked a fiery debate at the end of a consultation on how best to axe £11m from London Fire Brigade’s 2016/17 budget – with members in favour of alternate crewing by ten to six votes.

Twelve firefighters operating an engine with an aerial platform at Dagenham fire station would be lost under this proposal.

Barking and Dagenham’s MPs have previously spoken against this proposal although there would be no compulsory redundancies. Under this option, firefighters on standard engines would be responsible for running the aerial appliance.

The other option recommends the permanent removal of 13 fire engines which were removed from everyday use in 2013.

Andrew Dismore, London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, tabled the motion. Speaking after today’s meeting, he said: “I am pleased that the authority as a whole has agreed the proposal we have developed.

“I hope that the mayor will look at this in a constructive way and accept what we are proposing, but somehow I doubt it.”

Fire commissioner Ron Dobson has consistently recommended the permanent removal of the fire engines.

Speaking in favour of this, Londonwide assembly member Gareth Bacon said the support of 70 per cent of the respondents for alternate crewing was “not a ringing endorsement”, adding that 99.98 per cent were “not moved to respond to the consultation at all”.

But Dismore said disregarding the views of 1,500 respondents was “putting up two fingers to the public”. He added: “The public has made their views known and we are ignoring them.”

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) official Gareth Beeton emphasised that the union did not support any kind of cuts, adding: “Of the two options, the one with the least amount of job losses and the one where we will keep the 13 engines is Option A.”

The Mayor is expected to make his decision by March 17.


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