Consultation starts into Humberside fire service cuts plans

Humberside fire and rescue in action
Image caption A six-week consultation on the plans has started

A public consultation into plans to slash the number of Humberside Fire and Rescue engines has started.

The fire authority proposes to merge two stations and axe a fire engine in North East Lincolnshire and reduce engines in East Yorkshire to save £1m from its 2016/17 budget.

A union said the plans would "increase risk to the public and firefighters".

But the authority said a 70% cut in government funding had led to plans for changes with "the most minimal impact".

View the public Under the plans, fire stations at Immingham east and west would merge with the loss of a fire engine.

'Increase risk'

Options to remove an engine at Hornsea, Withernsea, Market Weighton and Brough have also been suggested.

The Fire Brigades Union fears that up to 24 posts could be lost in Immingham. It is unclear how many jobs could go due to the other proposals.

Richard Walker, brigade secretary for Humberside FBU, said: "It will increase risk to the public and firefighters. Everybody is concerned about job cuts, but it is mainly public safety.

"Once fire engines go they will never come back."

Chris Blacksell, deputy chief fire officer of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said there would be no redundancies.

"If we were to remove any fire engines then clearly we would need [fewer] staff," he said.

"What we would do is phase that in gradually with the retirement profile so we wouldn't be looking to make redundancies, but we would be looking not to replace people as they retired."

If the savings are approved "no further operational savings would be required" until 2019/20, according to a fire service document.

Results of the consultation would be reported to the fire authority's meeting in March when a possible decision could be made.

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