Firefighters delayed on emergency call in Quiet Streets slip up

Firefighters responding to an Ilford incident were delayed after the wrong padlock was used on one of Redbridge Council’s new temporary barriers.

The London Fire Brigade were seen smashing open the lock on a barrier on Ashurst Drive while trying to attend an incident on Mulberry Way at around 8pm on October 3.

The barriers were installed last month as part of the council’s first “Quiet Streets” trials, aiming to reduce traffic, pollution and accidents by forcing traffic away from residential roads.

So far, the trial has been controversial, with five Redbridge Conservative councillors calling for an Extraordinary Council Meeting to debate whether to end it immediately.

A witness near the scene on October 3 said it took around three to four minutes for the Brigade to break through the lock on their way to the incident.

All bollards are meant to be fitted with standard fire brigade padlocks but the Brigade said that, in this instance, a different lock was used.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “We consider each proposal on its own merits and if we have concerns that any changes may impact our response times then we will raise these with the local authority and work together to find the best solution. 

“Whenever there are road closures in an area, we monitor the impact these are having on firefighters responding to emergencies.

“Our borough commanders have all written to their local councils to remind them of the need to consult and consider response times.

“We continue to work closely with local authority partners and are regularly in contact with them about the best way for us to be consulted and notified of road closures and other works.”

The London Fire Brigade arrived to find smoking pouring from a pan left on to boil. There were no reported injuries.

A Redbridge Council spokesperson said: “We engaged thoroughly with the various emergency services before the start of the Quiet Streets pilot sites.

“All of our removable street furniture, such as bollards, are fitted with standard fire brigade padlocks for ease of access.

“We are also continuing to meet with the emergency services throughout the pilot and will discuss this incident to understand whether more changes need to be made.”

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter