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Bradford councillor's fears over fire service cuts
9:00am Tuesday 4th September 2012 in News
A senior Bradford councillor has “grave concerns” over fire cover for the district if fire chiefs press ahead with plans to cut 200 firefighter jobs across the county.
The county’s chief fire officer, Simon Pilling, has revealed proposals which would mean the closure of Haworth retained fire station, the merger of Shipley and Idle stations at a new site and the loss of crews at other stations across Bradford and West Yorkshire.
Mr Pilling said his planned cull of firefighter posts would allow the West Yorkshire brigade to cope with government funding cuts and help deliver annual savings of £8 million.
However, Glenn Miller, the leader of Bradford’s opposition Conservative Group, described the plans – which will be discussed by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority this week - as “a review too far.”
Coun Miller, whose Worth Valley ward includes Haworth fire station, said: “Whilst I appreciate the need to make financial savings in the current economic climate, I question the proposals being made and the impact they will have on the urban and outer areas of Bradford, Shipley and Keighley .
“The recently released report is a wordy document, but basically boils down to a loss of manpower, engines and stations. Lives are too important to be dependent upon such a thin red line so to speak, regardless of how few deaths and injuries the statistics suggest this would cause. Small incidents may well be largely predictable in a numerical sense, but more serious incidents are less so and will leave the line of defence too thin for my liking.”
Meanwhile, Bradford East MP David Ward is seeking urgent talks with senior fire officers.
He said: “These proposals are part of a big reduction in service for Bradford and the information about the future of the service is very thin”. The plans, which were exclusively revealed by the Telegraph & Argus last month, also include a reduction in the number of appliances from two to one at Fairweather Green and Odsal stations in Bradford.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:“Accidental fire deaths and injuries are at an all-time low and some stations are now half as busy as they were a few years ago, so the chief is confident he can rationalise and modernise the service whilst still providing effective fire cover.”