North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) has opened a consultation period on proposals to reduce the number of full-time staff.
The plans would see £1.5m per annum saved and would affect six of the county’s 39 fire stations: Harrogate, Malton, Northallerton, Ripon, Scarborough and Tadcaster. The proposals include replacing fire appliances with smaller vehicles crewed by fewer staff or replacing day-crewed engines with a mix of full and part-time or retained firefighters.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is warning that the cuts could lead to as many as 42 firefighters losing their jobs. Chair of the North Yorkshire branch of the FBU Simon Wall said: ‘We appreciate the need for a review and change, but this must not be at the expense of firefighters or public safety.
‘We also appreciate that call volumes have reduced, but some of that reduction is down to the preventative work we undertake. There are also plans to increase the contribution the fire service receives from council tax to the maximum that it can, without triggering a referendum.’
NYFRS would not be drawn on how many staff might be axed under the proposals, but encouraged local residents to take part in the consultation. Area manager Owen Hayward told the Harrogate Informer: ‘We would really like to hear from local residents, business groups and our staff to gather their views on these proposals. Even if you do not live or work in an area that is specifically affected by the proposed changes we would like to hear from you.’
The consultation closes at 6pm on 16 October 2015. For more information, visit www.northyorksfire.gov.uk/