Cuts to fire service pose ‘real danger’

Lancaster Fire Station
Lancaster Fire Station
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Proposals to reduce Lancaster fire services by half to save £1m a year have been opposed by the city council.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) is proposing to cut fire engines and firefighters across the county to meet government budget targets.

As part of this, it is looking at removing one of Lancaster’s two fire engines.

It said that the second fire engine in Lancaster is one of the least active in the county, and that fire incidents had reduced significantly over recent years.

However the city council has warned that there is a “real danger” that a combination of a growing population in the district and a lack of funding for Community Safety Partnerships will start to see a new increase in fire incidents in the area.

The council said it had ambitious plans for development and would expect an increase in both the number of houses and the population over the coming years, and that strategies and actions leading to a reduction in incident numbers would no longer be funded in future.

LFRS said it would look at the option of replacing Lancaster’s second engine with with one crewed by retained firefighters, but this would depend on recruiting sufficient staff.

The council said this idea would seem a reasonable one, assuming that assurances were given that the wider factors had been taken into account.

The council’s stance was due to be discussed at a business committee meeting today, Thursday, at Morecambe Town Hall.

A public open meeting to discuss the proposals will take place on September 16 in the Ashton Hall at 6.30pm, where a senior fire officer will be present to answer questions.

The proposals would see the removal of one Lancaster fire engine by 2017/18.