Melton and Rutland MP the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan has pledged to fight for ‘a fair deal that provides good and safe cover’ after recently meeting Leicestershire and Rutland fire chiefs ahead of a meeting in Parliament to discuss proposed cuts to the service.
The planned cuts include replacing one of Melton’s traditional fire engines with a smaller tactical response vehicle (TRV).
The cost-cutting proposals could see up to 88 firefighter posts axed across Leicestershire, two stations closed and fire engines removed from some stations in a bid to save about £1.5 million a year.
In Melton’s case the proposed changes would save about £100,000.
Sir Alan emphasised the importance of maintaining effective and safe cover across the rural and built up parts of his constituency.
He said: “People understandably get a bit anxious whenever plans like this come out, but the Fire Service is actively consulting with MPs, the Fire Brigades Union and the public to raise awareness about what the changes would actually mean.
“The key is not always how many particular types of engine one station might have, but how effectively they’re deployed when they’re actually needed.
“I will continue to monitor this process and make sure we end up with a fair deal that provides good and safe cover.”
As previously reported in the Melton Times, Fire Service bosses have told concerned residents of the Melton borough that they will always have one traditional fire engine available.
But they were told the TRV ‘would not be sent in isolation’ to major incidents like a house, school or factory fire in Melton nor be sent to a fire that ‘involved a life risk’ as these vehicles are designed to deal with smaller fires and incidents.
Critics, including the Leicestershire Fire Brigades Union, fear the proposed cuts will increase the harm to the public and firefighters.
But Fire Service bosses have said they’re ‘satisfied the safety of communities and firefighters won’t be compromised’ if the proposals go ahead.
A public consultation on the cost-cutting proposals is running until December 4. Responses will be considered by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Combined Fire Authority, which will be asked to make a decision on the plans in February.
To have your say visit www.leicestershire-fire.gov.uk/irmp.