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Rubbish collections could trigger more fires, warns London Fire Emergency and Planning Authority

Large number of rubbish fires can risk life and property
London Fire Brigade is trying to curb fires spawned from rubbish piles

Between August 2009 and August 2010 there were 8,438 rubbish fires in London.

The Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) today warned that the introduction of alternate weekly rubbish collections to London could cause more fires and divert the attention of the firefighters away from other life saving work.

Local authorities will experience a financial squeeze in the coming weeks and months, and LFEPA is concerned that councils are looking to introduce fortnightly bin collections in order to save money. However, if alternate weekly collections were introduced the amount of rubbish left out for long periods or potentially flytipped could lead to more malicious fires. If this did happen, this would lead to more taxpayers' money being spent with fire crews repeatedly sent out to tackle blazes that could have been avoided.

Between August 2009 and August 2010 there were 8,438 rubbish fires in London. This was down from 9,806 for the same period in 2008/09. LFEPA is aiming to cut the number of these fires even further, by up to 43% in the coming three years, but fears that this target will be missed if fortnightly bin collections are introduced across the capital.

Chairman and Leader of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Councillor Brian Coleman AM, FRSA, said: "Most outdoor fires are fires in rubbish and refuse. Working with local people and local councils the Brigade has been successful in reducing the numbers of rubbish fires in London. However, there is a real danger that if fortnightly bin collections were introduced it would increase the number of fires which will risk lives and cost the taxpayer dear."

"Rubbish, refuse and other materials left outside are often maliciously set alight and even now we still attend over 8,000 calls each year. The Brigade wants to cut this number further but will be hampered by a short sighted, short term, quick fix solution that could increase the overall bill to the taxpayer." 

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