Review to halt fire station closures

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Merseyside Fire & Rescue © Flickr/Harrypope

Merseyside Fire & Rescue. Pic © Flickr/Harrypope

The Fire Brigades Union is considering seeking a judicial review about how public opinion was gathered in an attempt to save two of the seven Merseyside fire stations under the threat of closure.

Fire chiefs voted to close stations in Huyton and Whiston in the wake of £6.5 million government cuts, in favour of building a new station on Manchester Road in Prescot.

Mark Rowe, the Brigade Secretary for Merseyside’s Fire Brigades Union, told JMU Journalism: “I believe the Tory-led coalition have turned their backs on the people of Merseyside. David Cameron said on the eve of the 2010 General Election that there would be no front line cuts – he is a liar.”

Since 2010, up to 300 fire-fighting jobs as well as 14 fire engines have been lost. This has resulted in savings of nearly £20 million, with a further £3.4 million expected to come out of budgets following the closures.

According to the fire fighter, there have been occasions where help has had to be requested from other fire stations due to a lack of staff because of the cuts.

Video report by Holly Jones, JMU Journalism TV

Speaking about the effect the cuts are likely to have on the region, the 50-year-old said: “There is no doubt that the public of Merseyside will have a far worse emergency response.

“Fire fighters know there will be an increase in attendance times to all different types of incidents. It is not just fires we go to. There will consequentially be an increase in the amount of people injured and the number of properties and businesses that are lost to fire, which will have an economic impact on the communities through lost jobs.”

According to Mr Rowe, fire stations in Allerton, West Kirby and Whiston are at risk of closing in as little as 12 weeks.

About Anthony Fisher, JMU Journalism