LEWISHAM'S mayor has authorised the council to join legal action against Boris Johnson's closure of Downham and Woolwich fire stations.

The action will be led by Islington Council and seek to overturn the decision by the Mayor of London and Commissioner for Fire and Emergency Planning to shut stations across London.

Lewisham Council said in a statement: "The council believes, based upon the information received to date, that there is a genuine risk to the residents of Lewisham should the proposals for cuts to Downham fire station and associated cuts to appliances be imposed.

"The decision will be challenged on the basis that it was made without taking into account significant key issues."

Council officers say Downham's closure, which has been opposed by councillors from the Lib Dems and Labour, could risk lives.

Liberal Democrat councillors - who raised concerns in November last year and led a protest in July - welcomed the council's desicion

Lib Dem councillor for Downham ward, Councillor Julia Fletcher, said: “We have opposed these changes and tried to bring this matter to the attention of the council from the beginning.

"Downham is a deprived area that needs it’s fire station to ensure the protection of vulnerable residents in the event of an emergency.”

Councillor Duwayne Brooks added: “Boris Johnson has ignored guidance from LEPFA and the wishes of the local people and forced these cuts through without considering the social profile of Downham and the risk these closures represent.

"I hope, through legal action, we can ensure that residents of Lewisham are not left at risk through his thoughtless actions."