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'Traffic could delay fire crews on way to Baildon'
A Bradford councillor fears congestion on roads in the Aire Valley could lengthen the emergency response times for fire engines reaching Baildon if the fire service presses ahead with a planned shake-up.
Councillor Debbie Davies and her Baildon Conservative colleagues met a Fire Brigades Union (FBU) official to discuss the fire service’s plans to close Shipley and Idle fire stations and merge the two at a new station in Canal Road, Bradford.
Coun Davies said the FBU had told her Baildon was a “low-risk” area of the Bradford district because, historically, there had been fewer fires than in other parts of the district.
It therefore has a response time target of 11 minutes, Coun Davies said.
She said: “Although we accept that accidental fire deaths and injuries are at an all-time low there is no doubt that time is of the essence when there is an emergency situation.
“Baildon is classed as a low-risk area but if you have a major incident or a house fire that is an emergency. Clearly, Baildon has fewer incidents historically but who is to say that is going to carry on in the future?”
She raised concerns that congestion may mean fire engines taking even longer to reach emergencies.
Coun Davies said: “Getting over the bridge at the Crossley Evans scrap dealership in Shipley could cause problems and Canal Road is often congested.
“The fire engine could be over the other side of Idle and if there is an emergency in Baildon, it is going to be longer than 11 minutes.”
She and her fellow Baildon Councillors, Coun Roger L’Amie and Val Townend, were keen to canvass the views of residents and urged them to get involved in a 12-week consultation, which was launched on September 7.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Simon Pilling, has previously said that the number of fires in the Idle and Shipley areas has been cut by more than a third (34 per cent) over the past five years.
A review of response times is included in the West Yorkshire Fire Authority’s approved Risk Based Planning Assumptions (RBPA), which depend on the likelihood and impact of fires.
Under the latest proposals, a smaller Fire Response Unit (FRU) in Bradford based at Fairweather Green fire station will “further reduce the demand on fire engines in the area,” he said.
Mr Pilling said: “We cannot lose sight of our ambition of making West Yorkshire safer and we are proud that accidental dwelling fires and related deaths have been reduced to their lowest ever level.”
Fire chiefs have set up a special hotline for people to call who want to make their views known through the consultation process. For further details, call (01274) 655717.
Formal representations, to be received by November 30, must be made in writing or e-mail and directed for the attention of Hannah Stoneman, Consultation Co-ordinator, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Oakroyd Hall, Bradford Road, Birkenshaw BD11 2DY. Alternatively, e-mail: consultation@ westyorksfire. gov.uk.