York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service approves crew changes

Outside the fire authority meeting
Image caption The proposals were approved at a meeting held in Easingwold earlier

A move to reduce the number of full-time staff and use smaller response vehicles has been approved by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The changes, affecting six of the county's 38 fire stations, will save the service about £1.5m a year.

The Fire Brigades Union said more than 40 full-time posts may go with the move putting the public and staff "at risk".

The fire service said the changes were in response to a reduction in call-outs and better managing resources.

Changes will take effect at stations in Harrogate, Scarborough, Malton, Northallerton, Ripon and Tadcaster.

The options include replacing fire engines with smaller "tactical response vehicles" crewed by fewer staff or replacing day-crewed engines with a mix of full and part-time or retained staff.

'Breaking point'

The changes will begin to be implemented from 1 April next year, but take up to four years to complete.

Steve Howley, from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), said the smaller vehicles will only be crewed by two firefighters, putting "the public and firefighters at risk".

He said: "We are already at breaking point in North Yorkshire. We see on average between eight and 13 appliances unavailable every single day.

"Cutting the wholetime firefighter numbers even further without addressing that issue is just madness."

The FBU held a protest outside the meeting, in Easingwold, where the proposals were approved.

Image copyright North Yorkshire Fire Service
Image caption Some fire engines will be replaced by smaller "tactical response vehicles" under the plans

The fire service said it was hoping to make the changes without any redundancies.

Nigel Hutchinson, chief fire officer, said: "A modern fire and rescue service is expected to provide an emergency response that reflects changes in risk.

"It also needs to use new technologies and techniques for dealing with emergencies, when they are proven to work.

"I believe that the changes approved by the fire authority today will meet that expectation."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites