Somerset

Devon and Somerset Fire Service planned cuts 'ridiculous'

Fire engine
Image caption Devon and Somerset Fire Service wants to cut or reduce cover to save money

Plans to cut or reduce fire services in Somerset have been branded "ridiculous" and "dire" by the county council.

Possible changes include Porlock station closing and reduced cover in Bridgwater, Taunton and Yeovil.

Councillors also said the plans had "limited detail" and did not consider the impact on deprived areas, or the growing and ageing population.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it needed to "adapt to our ever-changing population".

At Somerset County Council's scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, Conservative Bob Filmer said the changes could increase the risk at tourist hotspots, including Berrow and Brean, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

"The risks they face if they do not have adequate fire cover are dire," he said.

'Unrealistic'

Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt said her constituents in Wells had no confidence in the proposals, which would see one of the city's two fire engines reduced to night cover only.

Independent John Hunt said it was "ridiculous" to deprive Taunton of one of its three fire engines given the large amount of new housing developments in the area.

The council also said the way the consultation was laid out "appears to lead the reader's thinking, has limited detail and does not allow for innovative thinking".

It said it wanted to work with the service to improve fire prevention, including by encouraging people to stop smoking.

The fire service has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment over the council's response to its consultation, which concludes on Sunday.

It previously said: "In the past few years we have seen significant new housing developments across our two counties, and these new developments are continuing to grow.

"This means we need to assess where we are located in relation to this change in population size and shape."

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