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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

MP's concern over fire service cuts plan

Susan Elan Jones, Member of Parliament for Clwyd South, has written to every member of the North Wales Fire Authority expressing deep concerns about proposals to cut 24 posts one of Wrexham’s two full-time engines.

Ahead of the authority’s meeting yesterday (Monday), at which the controversial plans were discussed, Ms Jones urged members to ‘go back to the drawing board’.

She said: “I am extremely concerned. This news comes only weeks after the service moved into a brand new joint ambulance and fire station, a £15m facility built with joint investment from both services. It’s quite astounding.”

Ms Jones said she feared response times would increase and lives consequently put at risk by the ‘short-sighted’ cuts put forward.

She added: “I understand Wrexham Fire Station is already dealing with more than 40% of all North Wales arson incidents, and a large proportion of the road traffic accidents across the region, and it will be facing increased pressure over the coming years with the anticipated 20% increase in the local population.

“Cutting the second appliance from Wrexham would, surely, result in delayed responses. In an environment where every second counts, this could be considered to be a deliberately irresponsible course of action.

“The second appliance based at Wrexham also supports outlying fire stations in Clwyd South at Johnstown, Chirk, Llangollen and Corwen. It is extremely worrying that standby support in these areas would cease, leaving large areas along the A5 corridor without adequate cover.

“I would urge the authority to go back to the drawing board and seriously reconsider these short-sighted proposals for the safety of the public.”

Wrexham Fire Station receives around 1,000 calls per year, about a quarter of the total for North Wales. Another 50 fire engines cover the remaining 75% of the region.

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates said he would also be writing to the authority to raise his concerns.
North wales Fire and Rescue Authority said it will consult on the proposals, the BBC reported yesterday (Monday).
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