Babcock chooses Scottish supplier Emergency One to support build of London’s new fire appliances

His Royal Highness the Duke of Rothesay met representatives from Babcock, Emergency One and apprentices who worked on the fire appliances at a special event at Dumfries House.

The start of an extensive rollout of new fire engines for London has begun with the first appliance being unveiled at a special event in Scotland attended by The Duke of Rothesay.

Babcock International Group has worked jointly with London Fire Brigade in the design of the new fleet, the first since 2007, and has commissioned Cumnock-based manufacturer, Emergency One UK Ltd (E1), to build them.

The first was unveiled at Dumfries House on 29 April at the event attended by His Royal Highness, Babcock employees, E1 employees, apprentices and London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Ron Dobson. The appliances have been designed with several major technical changes in comparison to the 2007 model and are expected to have a life of around 12 years.

Babcock has long term contracts to manage and maintain London Fire Brigade’s fleet of vehicles and equipment and design and deliver training for its firefighters. Under the project the first appliance will be rolled out in May, with a further 52 rolled out as part of the first tranche until the end of 2017. 

The new fleet will all based with a Mercedes chassis cab, similar to the 2007 version, before being driven down to Magirus GmbH in Germany where the crew cab will be fitted and then driven to E1 to be built into a complete fire appliance. E1 is the primary contractor amongst several suppliers used for the build of the fleet and was responsible for the body structure, completion fit out and fire engineering.

Babcock cast its research across the European marketplace for the best supplier before commissioning the East Ayrshire company to be its key manufacturer of the appliances. In turn, E1 which is the largest local employer in the area, gave its local apprentices, many of whom are also with The Prince’s Trust, the chance to be an integral part in the build programme.

Paul Wilkins, Babcock’s Director of Resilience and Emergency Services, said: “Being an international engineering company we recognise how important it is to encourage and develop the next generation of engineers not just for our company, but for our economy as a whole.

“This is a major investment and effort for everyone involved but this has also been a great way to celebrate young engineering talent, Babcock’s long term partnership with London Fire Brigade and the work of E1. We know that we have chosen a company that can deliver to the high standards Babcock recognises but also the importance it places in its young apprenticeships and we are delighted to have them working on the project.”

E1’s Stuart Harrison supervised the build of the appliance and started his career as an engineering apprentice 26 years ago before rising through the ranks. He said: “Working with a company such as Babcock in this prestigious project is hugely exciting and a real honour for the whole company.

“It’s given our young apprentices an amazing opportunity to be part of something that will positively impact not only those of us here in the Cumnock community but also the people of London.”

Around 15 E1 staff were involved in the build team ranging from apprentices to senior skilled staff deployed across a variety of disciplines including welding, coach building, electrical and mechanical engineering.

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “It was an honour to be able to show the prototype to His Royal Highness and I am looking forward to the new designs going into service later in the year.”

E1 Managing Director, Mike Madsen, has been with the company for 20 years. He added: “We are proud to have over a 90% track record of retaining all members of our team and Stuart and I are testament to that!  

We place particular emphasis on regular training and refresher courses for all of our employees and the majority of the apprentices are retained to ensure continuity of the excellent engineering programme we have. It has been a privilege to hold this event at Dumfries House, as The Prince has long championed apprentices and STEM careers for young people.”

Paul Wilkins of Babcock said the project was something everyone could be proud of. “It’s been nearly 10 years since the last LFB appliances were built and we feel this new fleet includes some exciting developments that will serve our customer and London firefighters well.”

The new ergonomically designed appliances will all be compliant with Euro 6 legislation meaning lower levels of overall emissions, and the breathing apparatus is being moved away from behind the crew cab to elsewhere in the appliance, which will improve firefighter comfort on journeys.

In May, Babcock will put the first of the fleet through its paces when it will undergo rigorous testing by independent assessors at Millbrook Proving Ground.  Tests will include:

  • Acceleration time – 0-40mph
  • Stopping distances
  • Hill start – .25% a gradient of (1:4)
  • Tuning circle – manoeuvrability test
  • Dynamic lane change manoeuvre – the ability to change lanes quickly
  • Tilt angle – stability testing to ensure it maintains balance. The minimum angle for this category of appliance being 32° 

Technical Specifications

Series 2 Appliance (2007)

Series 3 Appliance (2016)

Engine type:

Engine type:

72m of 19mm
diameter High Pressure hose tube, per side

72m of 22mm
diameter High Pressure hose  per side

Water tank
capacity: 1,365 litres

Water tank
capacity: 1,365 litres

Laden Weight: 12
tonnes (approx.)

Laden Weight: 11.5
tonnes (approx.)

Speed: Limited to
72mph with Emergency Warning  lights on

Speed: Limited to
72mph with Emergency Warning lights on, 56mph without

ECER29 crash

Increased crew cab
safety and comfort – 2017 version of ECER29 crash standard – dynamically

Service every 13

Service every 13

Glass reinforced

Co-polymer body –
reduced weight, easier to repair, stronger and recyclable.

Key facts about the project


  • The last time new fire engines were built for London was 2007.
  • Babcock was awarded a 21-year contract in 2014 to manage and maintain LFB’s vehicle and equipment fleet. As part of that contract, it is responsible for the design and delivery of the new state-of-the-art fire appliances according to London Fire Brigade’s tight requirements that will be rolled out across the capital from later this year and throughout 2017.
  • 53 appliances have been commissioned in the first tranche with the first one arriving for use in London later this year after a series of further testing. 
  • Babcock provides a dedicated 365/24/7 service ensuring optimum availability of the brigade’s fleet for use in London each and every day.
  • Babcock also has a 25-year contract to develop and deliver training for LFB firefighters and currently trains around 25,000 delegates each year

Media Notes:

  • For more information and images taken at the event please contact [email protected]
  • Babcock is the UK’s leading engineering support services company with revenue of over £4.5 billion in 2015 and an order book of circa £20 billion.
  • Operating in both the UK and overseas, Babcock delivers critical asset, infrastructure and training support to many sectors, including transport, defence, energy, telecommunications and education.
  • We take great pride in the considerable depth and breadth of our people’s expertise. Our c. 34,000 skilled staff design, build, manage, operate and maintain assets that are vital to both our public and private sector customers.
  • Dumfries House, was saved for the nation by HRH, The Prince Charles, The Duke of Rothesay (as The Prince is known in Scotland) led a consortium of organisations and individuals in a campaign for its rescue. The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust was formed to develop the house and estate as a visitor attraction, as well as using it to invigorate the local community.  Now fully restored, Dumfries House is at the heart of local regeneration and is open to the public for the first time in 250 years. The estate offers