Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford sirens 'should be limited for sake of city's image'

John Pennington and siren
Image caption John Pennington said regular sirens "did not present a good image of the city to people"

A councillor has said emergency services should limit the use of sirens as they gave the impression of "a city gripped by lawlessness".

John Pennington, deputy leader of the Conservative group on Bradford City Council, said the sound was "noise pollution" and was getting worse.

He is due to bring up the matter at a council meeting on Tuesday, the Telegraph & Argus reports.

Emergency services criticised his suggestion as "misguided".

Speaking to the BBC, councillor Pennington said he appreciated the importance of sirens but claimed their use impacted the "impression people get of a city".

He said: "We frequently see ambulances blasting sirens with no traffic in front of them. Why don't you just switch them off?

"It's a noise pollution we don't need as much of, there's an awful lot of it."

He added: "It doesn't present a good image of the city to people - subconsciously, people think 'what a horrible place', and it isn't."

Councillor's question to city council

In light of the endless sound of blue light sirens in the city centre, rightly or wrongly giving visitors the impression of a city gripped by lawlessness, would the leader of the council consider bringing pressure to bear on the services in question, for a more discreet approach where possible?

David Williams, West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union secretary, described it as a "weak argument".

He said: "It doesn't mean that there's lawlessness, we often need to send several vehicles with sirens to a single incident.

"Minutes really do matter, and if it means putting a siren on and getting there thirty seconds quicker then that's a sacrifice people in a city have to deal with."

Nick Smart, West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman, said: "It's to get to the incident in the safest manner and it's there to warn people there's an emergency vehicle.

"I don't advocate turning off sirens for the sake of tourism."

The use of emergency service sirens is controlled by Regulation 99 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.

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