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London has appointed it's new fire commissioner -
the 19th in the Brigade's history - and for the first
Dany Cotton started her career as a teenage firefighter in Wimbledon -
and she's been speaking about her new role -
and her concerns about the threat of a terrorist chemical
She spoke to our Home Affairs Correspondent, Nick Beake.
Training in Greenwich today for the firefighters from blue watch.
Dany Cotton is the first woman to lead
the London Fire Brigade in its 150 year history.
And she told us preparing for a new threat, chemical
attack by terrorists, is a top priority.
I think a chemical attack is a really big
threat because it's kind of unseen and something you can do with a
relatively small amount of chemical if you can find the means to
disperse it, so it's ensuring we are ready
nationally to respond to that
and respond quickly and be able to go there, and if people have been
contaminated, to be able to deal with that and process it quickly.
This week, the security minister said IS militants aspire to use
chemicals in an attack and London's new fire chief says the public
The natural reaction would be to run away and go
somewhere else but that just spreads it, which is what the terrorists
It is very important the people stay where they are, stay
contained and allow the emergency services to deal with the situation.
Today's exercise is very much a standard role but in the coming
months, more training will be specialised and geared towards
dealing with a terrorist attack on her watch.
But it is worth remembering the terror threat level
in the UK has stayed the same for the past two and half years.
When Dany Cotton first walked through these doors at Wimbledon
fire station as a teenager back in 1988.
Well, let's speak a bit about the issue raised in that interview.
We heard them reacting to what Ben Miller said about an attack in
London. We have to point out that there is no specific possible nature
of attack here. Ben Wallace is concerned about the use of chemical
weapons here. There are concerns about that. In Morocco, they found
chemical weapons there. We've been speaking to a chemical weapons
expert today, he said that the Government is right to be concerned.
We know that Daesh is, the Islamic State, are training people to use
chemical weapons, recruiting scientists to create biological
weapons in Syria and Iraq and the UK is a key target for them. We have to
take our head out of the sands and discuss this, so people aware it is
a possible threat. Like any threat with the right mitigation, you can
reduce that. Experts say that the public must be
better informed, obviously the instinct is to runaway from danger
but in the sense of a chemical aTalibaning, you must stay where you
are not to spread the chemicals it is safe to say we will be hearing
more about this in the months to come.
Strikes by train drivers on Southern Railways are set
to go ahead next week - after a union said the two sides
involved in the dispute - "aren't in the same universe".
That's despite the issue at the heart of the ongoing dispute -
plans for 'driver-only trains' - being declared SAFE
This is what Victoria Station looks like on a normal day.
But next week, it looks like the stations that lead to it
will look more like this, with a three-day strike
in the ongoing row over plans to make drivers responsible
It seems any hope of a deal is gone, despite these words
We've sent a formal offer to Aslef that we believe can bring
an end to this dispute, and we're urging our members to talk
to their leaders to get them to accept this offer so we can bring
this dispute to an end for the sake of our passengers.
They may be optimistic, but listen to how far apart
We're not in the same universe currently.
The reality is that there's been no real move to address the fundamental
issues that are at the heart of the deal.
It's about the imposition of a system and breaking
of agreement that we feel is unsafe, and if everything is going to be
done by imposition in the future, then the reaction's always
The deadlock means there'll be strikes next week on Tuesday,
Wednesday and again on Friday, with Southern warning
More strikes will then follow in the last week of January -
again three days being targetted, again disrupting travel
Today, another twist in the dispute, too, with the organisation that
oversees safety on the railways saying Southern's plans
for driver-only operation would be safe if certain conditions were met.
It is safe as long as you have the right equipment,
competent staff and the correct processes and procedures and you've
done all the risk assessments of the platforms to ensure that,
if necessary, assistance is provided.
Also today, London's Mayor restated his desire to take over Southern.
He wouldn't, though, be drawn on the key issue in the dispute.
Would you say to the unions, if you were to take over Southern,
Well, we'll have to wait and see till we take over the lines.
I mean, once we take over the lines, should the Government see sense,
we'll look at the trains, talk to the trade unions.
Some of the suburban lines we run on London Overground,
It's a conversation you've got to have.
The most important thing is safety but you've got
For now, Southern passengers will have to plan once again
Brexit - and its impact on one of the biggest employers of low
skilled workers in London - could be huge.
I'm referring to the hospitality sector which relies heavily
on workers from across the EU, to fill its posts.
Without them, hotels and other services would struggle to cope -
and so Emma North went to hotel in Pimlico - to find
out what THEY think the consequences could be.
Once a year, London grabbed the chance to tell the world
This year, it drove the point home harder than ever.
Dipping cutlery in vinegar is a far cry
from the fireworks but it's the
details that keep this city's reputation so polished.
Assad is a rarity in London's hospitality
When it comes to his EU colleague, he has to work
They are really fast at what they do and at the
start I was left behind with the rhythm of the team.
Hotels and restaurants here in London rely heavily on EU labour.
For example, six of the seven people who work at this hotel come from
But come Brexit, the rules which currently allow
people to move around the EU freely in order to find a job could well
change, and this change could deeply affect the hospitality sector.
11% of the London population are EU migrants.
Of them, 14 are classified as low skilled workers, such as
Of them, one in four are classified as low
skilled workers, such as
They currently don't have these restrictions but if we applied
the same rules to EU migrants as we currently
do to people coming from
outside the European Union, then four out of five low skilled EU
Esther, who is from Hungary, may have a
Masters in psychotherapy but she is still classified as a low skilled
I would say that I need skills to work
I think even as a maid, how I started, as
a waitress, but even as
a manager now, you need the moral of working, your attitude.
This hotel is still owned by the same family
If the rules governing who is allowed to
work here change, why not just hire from a home-grown workforce?
We can't get British people at the moment.
We've visited catering colleges, trying to make inroads
with schools, we have work placements, but despite that, after
Attracting people in the first place, tell me what we can do!
But could Brexit be just the thing to
nurture a home-grown hospitality industry?
Now, is the time for Government to make
Invest in skills and this industry to be the Open University,
if you like, in terms of vocational training.
The city that welcomed thousands of foreign workers, but
That's it for now from me, but le'ts find out what the weather's
It is cold, frosty already. There is mist and fog overnight. So grey by
the end of the night. Cold and probably freezing.
Temperatures down to minus three or four. So a slow start to the day.
The mist and the fog lifting later on in the afternoon.
The temperatures up a notch or two at six or seven Celsius.
Notice the clouds, to drift to Friday evening. Bringing patchy rain
but clearing by dawn on Saturday. Then we should be frost-free but it
will be fairly cloudy. If we look at the outlook we see it will be a
cloudy weekend. Temperatures are creeping up by a notch or two, 10,
maybe nine creeping up by a notch or two, 10,
maybe nine Celsius. Here is Louise with the national picture.
Won't it cold and frosty this morning? The coldest night of the
winter so far in England. Down to minus 8 Celsius. But widely, the
temperatures below freezing. Through the night, cloud and rain, so
temperatures for many holding up above freezing. The slightly less
cold theme to continue into the weekend. But cloudy and at times