Wrexham Fire Service Cuts: Fears 24 Posts Lost + One Appliance Cut
The Executive Panel of the Fire Authority voted to recommend for the full Fire Authority to approve for reduction in Fire Cover at Wrexham by removing one of the service’s appliances.
The news has been met with concern from the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) who claim that up to 24 posts in Wrexham could be lost by 2019/20 as the North Wales Fire Authority look to cut £1 million from its budget.
Speaking about the proposals, FBU Secretary, Shane Price said: “The Fire Brigades Union are questioning their recommendation on the basis that a full review of operational cover in Wrexham and surrounding area have not been evaluated fully and that these cuts will have serious effect for the public of Wrexham and surrounding areas.
“This announcement is only weeks after moving into a brand new joint Ambulance £15million Station, Other options were on the table for discussion however they were all based on operational cuts which would always affect the public.”
Mr Price continued onto comment on the issues with vehicle arsons that Wrexham has faced in recent years – with one such incident taking place in Gresford earlier this week.
He added: “Wrexham being the busiest station in North Wales and this area has been blighted by arson attacks on vehicles for a few years in recent times.”
The proposed reduction in appliances from three to two in Wrexham, comes as the North Wales Fire Authority concluded that it was no longer possible to freeze the authority’s budget.
Other options included the closure of some rural stations and discontinuing day crewing allowances. However the removal of one Wrexham appliance is the option that will be further explored and later consulted on.
The decision has been slammed by Plaid Cymru, who have branded it as ‘short-sighted stupidity’.
Plaid Cymru’s Wrexham Chair and Chair of Caia Community Council, Marc Jones stated that Wrexham’s fire service will be facing increased pressure over the coming years with Welsh Government anticipating a 20% increase in the local population and the opening of the new prison next year.
Cllr Jones said: “I’ve been approached by firefighters concerned that, if there’s an incident requiring two appliances at the prison, there will be no cover for the rest of the county. The fire service has a chief fire officer, a deputy and three assistants earning packages worth a combined £600,000 a year – I would rather see a scaling down of the top brass rather than losing valued frontline firefighters.”
“Wrexham’s fire services are already dealing with 43% of all North Wales arson and a large proportion of the road traffic accidents across the North. As community councillors, we are very aware of the work being done in terms of fire prevention that needs enhancing to pro-actively stop fires, but there will always be a need for a comprehensive emergency service that has the firefighters and appliances available to deal with any incident.”
A petition has also been started called for North Wales Fire Authority to reconsider their decision.
The decision will be considered by the Full Authority next month, where it is expected that a public consultation on the proposed reduction in appliances in Wrexham will be made.
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