“A recent fire in my street had five fire engines attend… four of these are due to be cut”

Fire Engine by Elliott Brown

I recently received this excellent letter from a resident concerned about proposed cuts to the London Fire Brigade. This Saturday (April 20), I will join dozens of volunteers in taking its message to people in the affected neighbourhoods of Battersea.

Dear councillor

I read today a letter in the Wandsworth Guardian by
Richard Tracey AM, the letter implied that Wandsworth was would not be
affected by the planned cuts to London Fire Brigade. The area of North
Wandsworth where I live will be greatly affected by these planned
cuts.

Any fires in the north of the borough are regularly attended by
fire appliances that are due to be cut under LSP5. Battersea Fire
Station only has one firefighting appliance left since the cuts in the
early 1990s. This one fire engine depends wholly on back-up from
Chelsea, Clapham and Westminster Fire Stations. Clapham often send all
three of their appliances across into Battersea, as do Chelsea and
Westminster. Clapham and Westminster are due to close and Chelsea
downgraded to one fire engine as part of LSP5.

There have been many fires in North Wandsworth, some recently where
these fire engines have been totally relied on for quintessential back-
up, sometimes meaning the difference between life and death at certain
incidents. So I hardly think any scaremongering is baseless.

A recent fire in my street in the heart of Battersea had to have five fire
appliances attend, to deal with it speedily and safely, of those five
appliances, four are due to be cut. This type of incident in this area
is not a rare occurrence, but happens with frightening regularity.

As a resident I have asked which appliances will attend after these cuts
and how long it will take. The common answer to this is stated in LSP5
itself, the average attendance times for Wandsworth Borough as a whole
will change little as a result of the cuts. The average attendance
time for the 1st attending and 2nd attending appliance will get worse
and increase by only 10 and 19 seconds respectively. But this is a
borough wide average and does not illustrate how far Battersea’s one
and only fire engine will have to travel into Clapham in the future.
Conversely appliances from Lambeth or Brixton or Wandsworth etc will
have a long way to travel to reach Battersea. Details of local
attendance times are not available.

The RBKC and Westminster Councils have both voted unanimously against
the cuts in their boroughs. They know it is bad for them, and with
less fire engines north of the river and the fact that Clapham will no
longer attend in Battersea, it will be down to the appliances north of
the river to cover a much larger area including Battersea. Chelsea
fire station as a result of LSP5 will have lost eleven neighbouring
fire appliances in the last seven years, and of course it borders
Battersea!

I hope that some of you, in the North of the Borough in particular
will consider opposing these cuts.

Thank you from a concerned Battersea Resident

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