Monday 15 July 2024
12.7 C
Nottingham

Plans to take night-time emergency fire cover out of West Bridgford goes to consultation – Have your say

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is facing challenges amid pressure on its budget, primarily due to inflation, pension costs, future uncertainties including pay awards, and the cost-of-living crisis.

Legally the Fire Authority must set a balanced budget, and in 2023, the organisation believes it needs to save £2-3million.

This predicted level of savings will necessitate changes to the number of firefighters and fire engines in the county.

Over the last three years the Service has attended incidents across the county in an average of seven minutes and 52 seconds, less than the eight-minute target set by the Fire Authority. It has also completed 26,000 Safe and Well Visits to vulnerable members of the community and 3000 building fire safety audits.

However, the ongoing financial challenge continues to be felt across the Service. This impacts on the organisation’s structure, resources, and the services it can deliver.

- Advertisement -

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is funded through a combination of council tax and government funding.

A review of support roles and operational roles has identified key areas where efficiencies could be achieved. These include a reduction in support staff positions, and a reduction in firefighters and fire engines.

Over the past 18 months the Service has undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment. The analysis explored the types of incidents firefighters are most likely to face, the locations they are most likely to occur, and the times of day the county experiences the highest levels of demand. Alongside this, an independent, sector leading specialist was commissioned to find a money saving option with the least detrimental impact on response times.

Based on these findings, today the Fire Authority agreed to go out to public consultation to:

  • Remove one of the two fire engines at London Road Fire Station.
  • Remove one of the two fire engines at Stockhill Fire Station.
  • Remove the night shift at West Bridgford Fire Station, leaving daytime crewing only.
  • Change Ashfield Fire Station from one day shift crewing and one on-call fire engine to one wholetime and one on-call fire engine.

In total these changes will generate around £2million of savings a year.

In previous years, changes to the Service’s response model have been based on the financial challenges at the time. Such changes have included the decision to make Ashfield day-shift crewing in 2018. Now, because of the other changes being proposed and recent demand data, it is proposed that Ashfield be adjusted back to one wholetime fire engine and one on-call fire engine.

Overall, the proposals result in an average seven second increase to county-wide response times.

Regardless of the changes, the nearest, most available appliance will always be sent when you call 999. This is the same our current operational model.

Chair of the Fire Authority, Michael Payne, said “let me be absolutely clear, the vote today is about seeking public consultation, not about removing frontline services.”

Chief Fire Officer Craig Parkin said ” Rather than simply making cuts, this redistribution proposal meets the Service’s savings forecast, whilst maintaining the best possible incident response standard, in all areas across Nottinghamshire.

“We are in no way proposing these changes as a good thing, but we can’t afford to do nothing.

“We’re already working efficiently with the resources that we have, showing clear improvements in our recent His Majesty’s Inspectorate report to be rated as ‘Good’ in all areas. We are thankful to our communities for your support of the work we do, but we are being asked to deliver more for less.

“As a sector we’ve faced significant financial pressure for several years. We are no strangers to making cost efficiencies that allow us to maintain our operational standards and deliver our services.

“Keeping Nottinghamshire’s communities safe is our primary focus. In the same way, we need to look after our staff so that they can look after you. This is our best option in extremely challenging national circumstances.

“We’ll continue to be more efficient, by placing our operational fire engines where they are most needed.

“At the moment, nothing is final while we consult on these proposals. As Chief Fire Officer, I’m asking people across Nottinghamshire to get involved in the consultation and have your say.”

County Councillor Jonathan Wheeler who represents West Bridgford South Division
and is the Leader of the Opposition on Nottinghamshire Fire Authority told The Wire:

‘It is devastating  for residents in West Bridgford and across Rushcliffe that the proposals were pushed through today.

“We now enter a consultation period and it’s important everyone makes their voice heard.

“Every labour and Independent member of the authority  representing areas  in Nottinghamshire voted for the recommendations today, and every Conservative voted against.

“We did our best to make it non political, even agreeing to support an amendment by two labour city councillors to delay the vote until more information was available, as even they saw these proposals weren’t acceptable. However the rest of the Labour and independent administration pushed it through.

“As leader of the Conservative Group I have continued to offer to work together to find a way to avoid these measures, and that offer still stands as I will do my upmost to protect our service and ensure the safety of our residents, but instead today the chair decided to attack  me for making a statement simply pointing out where he represented.

“Given that members of his own party from the city disagreed with the recommendations I imagine he is under a lot of pressure today especially when his own residents realise what he voted for.’

Take part in the public consultation from 30 September 2022. More information and frequently asked questions can also be found on our website.

 

Follow The Wire on TikTok, Facebook, X, Instagram. Send your story to newsdesk@westbridgfordwire.com or via WhatsApp on 0115 772 0418

Categories:
 

Latest