§ Mr. Randall
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make a decision on the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority's proposal to reduce the number of fire engines in London. 
§ Mr. George Howarth
On 1 March my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary received the application by the Authority, under section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947, for his approval to the removal of five fire appliances and associated firefighting posts.
Where an application is straightforward and uncontentious my right hon. Friend aims to reach a decision within six weeks. However, it is important that hon. Members, organisations and members of the public who wish to make representations about a section 19 application have the opportunity to do so. In a case such as this, where it is already clear that there will be a significant number of representations to consider, my right hon. Friend will normally take much longer than six weeks to reach his decision. I can assure the hon. Member that the application will not be approved unless we are 30W entirely satisfied, in the light of advice from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Fire Services, that the national standards of fire cover will be maintained.