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London’s Burning (longer)

999-sos-300x300.jpgStatistics out from the London Assembly show that Boris Johnson’s closure of Southwark fire station has had a detrimental effect on response times to local fires and other incidents.

The target time for the first response vehicle to arrive to tackle an incident is 6 minutes, but only one ward in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency (Cathedrals) is now seeing the first vehicle arrive in that timeframe (5 minutes 49 seconds).

Eight wards now wait over the 6 minute target, with four seeing the average response time rise above the target in the latest figures. The Mayor’s station closures and cuts in engine numbers leave people, homes and businesses at greater risk.

East Walworth has seen the biggest rise in waiting times, by almost there minutes. South Bermondsey has seen almost two minutes added to waits and two further wards (Chaucer and Grange) have had more than a minute and a half added to response times.

Three wards (Cathedrals, Riverside and Rotherhithe) see about 30 seconds additional delay and Surrey Docks ward witnessed a small rise of 3 seconds.

My own ward (Newington) saw a slight (8 second) drop in response times, but remains a little over the 6 minute target response time for the first vehicle to arrive (at 6 minutes and 3 seconds).

The statistics add weight to the Southwark Labour position that closing the Southwark fire station was a mistake. Our local population is growing fast – and the borough is getting taller alongside that population growth (think new building heights including Strata tower and One The Elephant), creating additional pressure on the fire service. Our area also includes London Bridge station and The Shard which the police suggest could be potential major incident sites requiring a more significant fire service response.


 Response times in Bermondsey and Old Southwark wards:

  • Cathedrals: up 31 secs from 5 minutes 18 seconds to 5.49
  • Chaucer: rising 1.44 from 6.03 to 7.46
  • East Walworth: rising 2.55 from 4.41 to 7.36
  • Grange: rising 1.32 from 5.51 to 7.23
  • Newington: dropping 8 secs from 6.11 to 6.03
  • Riverside: rising 32 seconds from 6.15 to 6.47
  • Rotherhithe: rising 30 secs from 7.02 to 7.32
  • South Bermondsey: rising 1.49 from 5.44 to 7.32
  • Surrey Docks: rising 3 secs from 7.20 to 7.23 

Labour’s London Assembly Member, Fiona Twycross, secured the London-wide figures and her comments on the new statistics are available online at: http://www.cityhalllabour.org/fire_brigade_response_times_increase_in_371_london_wards_after_boris_johnson_s_fire_station_closures

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