Cumbria

Walney fire station closure could increase response times

Walney fire station Image copyright Simon Morgan
Image caption The part time fire station in Walney could be closed and its appliance moved to Barrow

Responding to 999 calls in part of Cumbria could take longer if plans to close the fire station go ahead, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warned.

The Walney Island station could close with its fire engine moved to Barrow in a bid to save about £12,000 a year.

Cumbria County Council said it needed to save £80m in three years.

The FBU says the Walney crew will have to travel two miles to Barrow to collect the appliance and drive back to the island if there is a fire.

Increased demand

The part time station, which has one appliance, has been proposed for closure because of its low activity and the areas within Walney's station ground are considered low or medium risk, the council said.

However, Simon Morgan, the FBU branch chairman and crew manager at Walney Fire Station, said demand had increased to 156 call outs a year from 52 last year.

The appliance at Walney also became used as Barrow's second engine after service cuts in 2014 led to Barrow losing one of its two fire engines, putting increased demand on Walney.

Mr Morgan said: "The decision will not bode well for the communities of Walney and Barrow."

The fire crew were called out to an incident on Monday night during a public meeting about the future of the fire station, the 27th call out of the month, however it was a false alarm.

An online petition against the proposal has had more than 1,500 signatures.

Walney South Councillor Frank Cassidy said Cumbria County Council must make £17.5m worth of cuts in the next year and said the savings are "off-the-scale".

A consultation launched by the council will run until 22 January, he said.

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