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Public urged to 'speak out over Haworth fire cuts plan'
The Fire Brigades' Union has issued a rallying cry urging the public to speak out on wide-ranging planned cuts, amid fears firefighters' lives could be under increased threat.
The FBU fears people do not realise how exposed the district will be if sweeping rationalisation, including the closure of Haworth Fire Station and the loss of an appliance at Keighley, goes ahead.
Under the changes, response times to get to incidents in the Worth Valley would increase by three minutes and 47 seconds, it is claimed.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority has launched a 12-week consultation on the changes to save £8 million, which include the loss of 200 firefighter jobs and station closures.
There are fears that closing Haworth and reducing pumps at Keighley and Fairweather Green would leave the whole district compromised if there was a big fire requiring more than four pumps.
Dave Williams, West Yorkshire FBU secretary, said: “Response times could nearly double. I am urging people to speak to their local councillors and MPs.
“It is not just members of the public who are at risk with these cuts – firefighters’ lives would be put at greater risk as well.
“We are demanding the West Yorkshire Fire Brigade and the authority hold public meetings in public places.”
Bradford Council’s Tory group is also opposing the plans.
Group leader Councillor Glen Miller, who represents the Worth Valley ward, said: “The proposals are in my view a step too far. I accept that the brigade has done sophisticated incident modelling which shows that in the majority of instances the revised cover would be adequate, but exceptional events do happen. To my mind, the scale of the savings to be made do not warrant the risk to life and property that would result in such instances.
“From our own contact with residents, it is apparent that these proposals do not have the support of the public.”