Emergency response times set to increase if plans to close Clapham Fire Station go ahead


The station is one of 12 that Boris Johnson proposes to close


By Rachael Knowles

Response times for fire services in Lambeth will increase dramatically with the proposed closure of Clapham Fire Station, figures revealed yesterday.

London Fire Brigade reported that the response time for Clapham Town will increase by four minutes to seven minutes and 53 seconds.

The station is one of twelve across the city which Boris Johnson proposes to close, plunging 40 wards in the capital outside of the 6 minute response time.

“These figures are shocking and show the Mayor of London’s fire station closure plans will mean it will take a lot longer for fire engines to get to emergencies,” said Lambeth Council leader Councillor Lib Peck.

“Any increase in response times is unacceptable because it threatens the safety of our residents. I urge Boris Johnson to think again about the closure of Clapham Fire station,” she added.

It comes after six fire engines tackled a blaze in Clapham High Street on Tuesday morning in a single storey of shops.

Nobody was injured but 25 people were evacuated from the surrounding buildings while one of the shops was 70% damaged by fire.

The fire prompted further questions over the closure of Clapham Fire Station and the quick response by fire services led to locals fearing the worst if the station were to close.

Nikki Kastner, co-owner of Clapham Books which was next door to the fire, said: “The fire services were brilliant, I dread to think what it would have been like if they had been coming from far away.

“We are fully supportive of the campaign. If the closure takes place, it would have taken another four minutes for the fire services to arrive on Tuesday – who knows how far the fire could have spread in that time.”

The campaign describes how a fire can double in size in four minutes and presses on the importance of quick response fire services in the borough.

Lambeth is the busiest in London for residential fires and the closure would mean 25% of fire cover in Lambeth would disappear.

However Conservative London Assembly member and chair of the London Fire Authority James Cleverly believes the figures do not add up and response times will remain the same.

He said: “The London Fire Brigade currently has, and will continue to have, some of the fastest response times in the country, indeed the world.”

Across London the closures would mean 520 fire-fighter jobs being cut in an effort to save £45m in two years.

Residents concerned about the threat to the station are urged to attend a demonstration and rally starting outside Brixton fire station on May 16.

There will then be a march to a local consultation meeting at Lambeth Town Hall, with Boris Johnson expected to make his final decision on June 17.

To find out more information and sign the petition, visit

Photo courtesy of  Danny McL, with thanks

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