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Petition launched to save fire engine based at Willesden station

PUBLISHED: 06:45 09 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:18 10 December 2015

London Assembly Member Navin Shah was joined by Dawn Butler MP and Labour councillors to launch the petition against the scrapping of a one of only two fire engines in Willesden (Pic: Adam Thomas)

London Assembly Member Navin Shah was joined by Dawn Butler MP and Labour councillors to launch the petition against the scrapping of a one of only two fire engines in Willesden (Pic: Adam Thomas)

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Labour politicians in Brent have launched a petition against plans by the Mayor of London to scrap one of only two remaining fire engines in Willesden.

Navin Shah, left, has accused Boris Johnson, right, of risking fire response times and the safety of residents (Pic credit: PA)Navin Shah, left, has accused Boris Johnson, right, of risking fire response times and the safety of residents (Pic credit: PA)

Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, was joined by Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, and councillors Tom Miller and Bernard Collier outside Willesden Fire station in Pound Lane.

They are fighting proposals by Boris Johnson to permanently decommission the engine as part of £11.5m million planned cuts to London Fire Brigade’s budget.

Mr Shah has warned that slashing Willesden’s fleet of engines in half could endanger lives and extend fire crew response times.

He also claimed Brent has one of the highest rates of fire deaths in London as figures suggest crews in the area are already missing their target response time in 41 per cent of call-outs.

He added: “The petition expresses the strength of feeling of our local community who are worried about their safety if the engine is permanently removed from Willesden fire station.

“Since the closure of fire stations, removal of engines and major loss of fire fighters last year the fire cover has worsened.

“I’ve had conversations personally with fire-fighters who do not support the removal of fire engines due to the impact on public safety. Fire cuts cost lives.”

If they are approved, the plans would form part of a wider move to slash 13 engines from crews across the capital.

The petition, which has already been signed by at least seven fire-fighters covering the Willesden area, will be circulated for residents to sign before a formal presentation to the London Assembly in February.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said: “Frontline services and the safety of Londoners remain the Mayor’s top priority.

“The London Fire Brigade ‎continues to do an excellent job, meeting London-wide targets to attend the scene of an emergency within an average time of six minutes, with a second engine within eight minutes.

Fire deaths in the capital have halved in the last five years and in 2014-15 there were fewer than 20,000 fires, the lowest since records began.

“LFEPA launched a public consultation on two options to help balance the budget for 2016/17.

“The Mayor awaits the results of this exercise.”

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