Torfaen AM objects to fire engine cut

1:41pm Monday 25th November 2013

TORFAEN AM Lynne Neagle has written to the chief fire officer objecting to the removal of a fire engine from Cwmbran Fire Station.

The letter follows the end of the consultation on the future of the Cwmbran fire engine and Blaina fire station, which are facing the axe to make savings.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) said they would be collating the amount of responses to phase two of the Fire Cover Review (FCR).

The chief of SWFRS, Huw Jakeway, has previously said there would be no extra risk to life by shutting Blaina fire station, but that cutting Cwmbran’s retained fire appliance to save £180,000 could lead to one extra death in 100 years, according to computer risk analysis.

More than 3,275 people have signed an unofficial online petition calling for Cwmbran’s retained fire appliance not to be axed.

The service, which has 50 fire stations and 1,650 fire fighters, must slash £2.8million from its budget before April.

AM Lynne Neagle wrote to Mr Jakeway objecting to the proposal.

She said: “Chief amongst these is the basic point that the removal of the second engine there would effectively see local fire cover reduced by half, leaving just one dedicated engine for a growing town which already boasts a population of well over 50,000 people, and is largely made up of very high-density housing.

“Indeed, people are particularly fearful of the prospect of Cwmbran being left without any engine at all in the event of a local fire if the full-time crew are called out to provide support at an emergency in Newport or elsewhere; something which I understand from firefighters themselves is a very regular occurrence.”

She goes on to highlight the new local development plan that includes a major new housing scheme in south Sebastopol, and the 300-bed Specialist and Critical Care Centre due to be sited at Llanfrechfa Grange.

She added: “I’m naturally also concerned that if the local fire service becomes more overstretched, which would seem an obvious potential consequence of the proposals for Cwmbran, much of the fantastic work that has gone on down the years to reduce the number of fires will simply get lost in the mix.”

The fire authority, which is made up of councillors, will make a decision on the plans at the fire service HQ in Llantrisant on December 16.

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