MP marches to save fire engine in campaign against proposed county council cuts

MP Rory Stewart leads the march

MP Rory Stewart leads the march

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

RORY Stewart MP has joined thousands of marchers in Penrith in a mass show of community strength against council proposals to cut a fire engine from the town.

Mr Stewart, the Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border, joined retained fire fighter Dawn Coates in the mass march at the weekend.

Cash-strapped Cumbria County Council run by a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, needs to save £80 million over the next three years and blames the Government for taking a 'bite out of its budget."

It needs to save £24.4 million in the next financial year alone and has been carrying out a countywide consultation on where the money should come from.

It has proposed the measure in an effort to save £50,000 from its budget. Fire stations in Kendal and Dalton-in-Furness face identical potential cuts.

But Penrith firefighters and the local community have raised strong concerns that without a second appliance, the local service will be unable to meet its legal response times to emergencies, which they fear would put lives and property at unnecessary risk.

Local campaigners marched from Middlegate to the Corn Market bandstand, where volunteers were standing by to gather further signatures for their petition - already signed by thousands - and to inform local residents how to contact those councillors responsible for deciding the future of Cumbria's Fire and Rescue Services.

Speaking at the bandstand, Mr Stewart said: "What is most frustrating is that Penrith firefighters have already suggested sensible, alternative proposals for how to save this money.

"This is not the right cut, and there are real concerns about the safety implications of removing this engine. It is clear from the turnout today, and the thousands of names on the petition, that this service is deeply valued by Penrith and the local community.

"Please everyone get in touch with your local councillors and let them know just how much you disagree with proposition 28. "

The final decision is likely to be made at the county council's budget setting meeting in February.

 

Comments (1)

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2:26pm Tue 21 Jan 14

davidearnshaw says...

I was astonished to hear Cumbria Fire Chief on the radio recently saying in relation to these proposed cuts that statistics now show that the risk of incidents has reduced, so it is a justifiable move to reduce the number of Fire appliances available at a number of stations around the County ---- this is a totally wrong way of looking at the matter, where life saving is involved and could be likened to saying, because there is a reduction in certain acute medical emergencies the amount of equipment needed to deal with these can be reduced ---- absolutely not so --- emergency equipment may lay dormant for some time ---- but when it is needed it cannot be done without ----- I would say to the Fire Chief and all County Councillors voting on this matter -- what will you be saying when you are trapped at the top of a burning building that needs lots of resources available ----- quickly ---- to rescue you, and they take longer to get to you --- I don't need to spell out the possible consequences ------ there must be no question of quantifying acute resources, just because statistics are saying happenings are reducing ---- as above ---- they may be reducing, but what happens when a big incident occurs, much equipment / personnel is needed -- on the spot -- quickly with expertise -- soon they will be saying they only need half a fire tender at a station !!! because statistics say so !!! ----- calling in other pumps from further away stations, will leave those areas exposed, let alone possible delays in getting to an incident ---- bad weather -- traffic congestion etc etc, and who is to say whilst they are away --- another incident might occur in their own area. Mr Fire Chief, County Councillors ---- you are not in a position to play god with the populations lives, via theorising and stats---- and by possibly carrying out these reductions --- this is exactly what you would be doing ----- and without doubt, increasing the risk to life ----- every effort must be made to stop these suggestions going ahead..
I was astonished to hear Cumbria Fire Chief on the radio recently saying in relation to these proposed cuts that statistics now show that the risk of incidents has reduced, so it is a justifiable move to reduce the number of Fire appliances available at a number of stations around the County ---- this is a totally wrong way of looking at the matter, where life saving is involved and could be likened to saying, because there is a reduction in certain acute medical emergencies the amount of equipment needed to deal with these can be reduced ---- absolutely not so --- emergency equipment may lay dormant for some time ---- but when it is needed it cannot be done without ----- I would say to the Fire Chief and all County Councillors voting on this matter -- what will you be saying when you are trapped at the top of a burning building that needs lots of resources available ----- quickly ---- to rescue you, and they take longer to get to you --- I don't need to spell out the possible consequences ------ there must be no question of quantifying acute resources, just because statistics are saying happenings are reducing ---- as above ---- they may be reducing, but what happens when a big incident occurs, much equipment / personnel is needed -- on the spot -- quickly with expertise -- soon they will be saying they only need half a fire tender at a station !!! because statistics say so !!! ----- calling in other pumps from further away stations, will leave those areas exposed, let alone possible delays in getting to an incident ---- bad weather -- traffic congestion etc etc, and who is to say whilst they are away --- another incident might occur in their own area. Mr Fire Chief, County Councillors ---- you are not in a position to play god with the populations lives, via theorising and stats---- and by possibly carrying out these reductions --- this is exactly what you would be doing ----- and without doubt, increasing the risk to life ----- every effort must be made to stop these suggestions going ahead.. davidearnshaw
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