Eric Ollerenshaw column: Emergency cover fear if fire service cuts go ahead

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood.
Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood.

Last week I met with the management and crew at Lancaster Fire Station to discuss the Emergency Cover Fire Review consultation and the proposal that Lancaster loses a ‘wholetime’ engine.

I already had concerns over this proposal, as I do feel that with Lancaster’s two units covering the largest area in Lancashire – from Lancaster up to Cumbria’s border and from the Fylde to North Yorkshire - the loss of a ‘wholetime’ unit may have a detrimental impact on the ability to provide adequate emergency cover. This was definitely brought home to me when the crew at Lancaster explained that not only do they have this huge area to cover, but we also have to take into account the varied geography together with the diverse nature of our area – an historic city, towns, rural, as well as servicing a deep water port, two nuclear power plants, the West Coast Mainline, the hospital, university as well as two large industrial estates and not forgetting the longest section of the M6 motorway. I have written to Lancashire’s Fire and Rescue Service to outline my objections to this proposal.

I also attended a performance of the Feast of Life that was performed at St Bernadette’s Church on Bowerham Road as part of the conclusion to the local IF awareness campaign. It was a brilliant and heartfelt professional performance by a multi-denomination choir which I hope we will be hearing again and again. The IF campaign aims to ensure that there is enough food for everyone across the world. There has been a year of events both nationally and locally with all denominations involved and I am pleased that there has been good news for this campaign in the Government’s commitment to International. If you would like further information on this campaign please visit enoughfoodif.org.

Finally, National Energy Action have announced that there will be up to £3,500 worth of funding for Community Groups, charities and voluntary organisations through their Community Action Award Scheme 2013/14. If you know of a group that might be interested in entering they can do so by visiting www.nea.org.uk/footprint.