Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Plans to cut South Yorkshire firefighter crews shelved

Stock picture of South Yorkshire Fire Service Image copyright SYFR
Image caption South Yorkshire Fire Service said "four firefighters on a fire engine remains a viable solution"

Plans to shelve a cut in firefighter crew numbers in South Yorkshire until 2020 - 2021 have been welcomed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue proposed a drop from five to four crew members on fire engine under plans to save £4m.

The fire authority has asked the service to explore alternative methods.

Neil Carbutt, of the FBU, said: "It's a significant victory to be able to lobby for a year and look at other proposals."

If no viable alternatives are found then four firefighters on fire engines would be implemented in 2020 - 21, according to a a meeting of the authority on Monday.

Mr Carbutt, South Yorkshire FBU secretary, said: South Yorkshire firefighters are committed to keeping the public safe, and these proposals would have seriously undermined our ability to do so.

"The fire authority must go to the government and demand adequate funding so that we can provide a safe service to local communities."

The crewing change would have seen 84 firefighter posts cut, he said.

Image caption About 200 firefightersprotested against the plans in June

James Courtney, chief fire officer, said: "We've already described the savings we've made to protect our frontline service and we will continue to explore further options, as directed by members.

"However, whilst we would rather not make any changes to our frontline service at all, we're pleased that the fire authority has acknowledged that riding with four firefighters on a fire engine remains a viable solution should we be required to implement it."

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