Shropshire border fire station to lose one engine in cuts

A fire station on the south Shropshire border will lose one of its two engines as part of cuts.

Tenbury Wells fire station, which regularly send engines to cover emergencies around Ludlow, Clee Hill and Cleobury Mortimer, will be left with a single engine to cover the area.

Bosses at Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service say the cuts are significantly smaller than originally planned, but representatives from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) say the loss of engines from stations such as Tenbury Wells will have a knock on effect and stretch fire service resources in the area.

Two fire engines and 38 full time firefighters are being lost across the brigade's fleet. No jobs will be lost at Tenbury Wells as it is a retained fire station.

Steven Gould, brigade secretary for Hereford and Worcester FBU, said Tenbury would continue to have a standing crew of four to five people.

"But to lose the fire engine at Tenbury, or to lose any engine across the two counties has a knock on effect," he said.

"If Tenbury's engine is out on an incident and then another one comes in, who is going to cover that?

"There are two engines there for a reason."

He said he was disappointed with the cuts.

"Our service has £1.8 million in a reserve pot and £3.1 million in a budget reduction fund, so if it's poverty their claiming, that's not a true fact - there is money there.

"The decision has been made but the FBU will keep on fighting."

The fire authority needs to address an overall budget shortfall of over £6 million in a five year period.

While 73 per cent of savings are planned to be made from cuts in back office roles, management roles and service improvements, £1.7 million still needs to be found, bosses say.

But original proposals were to cut much deeper, with plans to scrap 10 engines across the the region and cut 44 jobs.

Derek Prodger, chairman of Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority said: "The authority has agreed a way of making the savings mainly through changes to crewing systems and crewing levels and by removing two fire engines instead of the ten that were originally proposed.

"Of course, we would prefer not to have to make savings from the frontline, and we recognise the concerns of the wider community, but we must deal with the budget shortfall we are facing. We have no other choice."

Chief fire officer Mark Yates said: "While it is very hard to make changes that affect our frontline response, I do believe that we will still be able to provide an excellent service for our communities.

"Although I would not wish to lose any of our frontline fire engines from the fleet, the recommendations approved represent the best option in the present circumstances."

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