Shropshire fire service opens consultation on budget cuts

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Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has opened a public consultation on where cuts in its budget should be made.

Options include the closure of four rural fire stations, and the control centre in Shrewsbury could be merged with Hereford and Worcester's service.

Councillor Stuart West, chairman of the fire authority, said so far the service had absorbed £3.2m but a further £1.9m needed to be saved by 2020.

"We have to reduce frontline services" Mr West said.

Under the plans, Baschurch, Clun, Hodnet and Prees fire stations have been identified as four of the service's 23 that are in "low risk" areas.

Other options include removing a full-time fire engine from the Shrewsbury or Telford area.

The service has seen a 10% cut in firefighters and support staff and a 25% reduction in senior officers since 2009.

Mr West said crewing fire engines in different ways and sharing support services had also helped trim the £3.2m from its £20m budget.

"We are having to explore all aspects of the service we currently deliver to make sure that any changes we make will continue to meet the risks in the county," he said.

The consultation will end in December. Chief fire officer John Redmond said the results would be considered by the fire authority at a meeting in February.

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