Frustration at fire cover cuts

Halifax Fire Station, King Cross, Halifax
Halifax Fire Station, King Cross, Halifax

A fire brigade union chief has hit out at a “heartbreaking” lack of objections from Halifax residents against plans to lose a fire engine in the town.

Last Friday, members of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority approved plans to reform fire cover across West Yorkshire - including removing a fire engine from Halfiax.

The proposals - which aim to meet budget cuts - had been revised after attracting record levels of public feedback during a 12-week consultation - but only THREE letters of objection were submitted from Calderdale. David Williams, secretary for the Fire Brigades’ Union West Yorksire branch, said: “The level of response from Halifax was very poor and that’s frustrating. I’ve watched local news and seen 200 protesting to keep a library open yet something as life-saving and critical as a fire station or a fire engine being taken off the run and can’t get many people to respond. It’s heartbreaking.

“Some of the areas that are being kept open, such as Rothwell and Garfoth, got thousands of letters of objection to the closure. It’s like with nature, if you scream and shout hard enough you get something back.”

Halifax fire station currently has two full-time manned pumps but under the new plans will have one removed. The station will keep a fully-equipped - but unmanned - back-up pump, known as a reslience pump, which the crew could use as an alternative to their Combined Aerial Rescue Pump (CARP), which is less able to reach restricted-access locations, such as a rural address.

Mr Williams said: “We’re not happy. It has massive implications for Halifax. Statistics show certain demographics provide us with more fire calls -elderly, Asian populations, poor, low quality housing. And Halifax gets a couple of ticks in those boxes. But the decision has been made, we will see where it goes.”

A decision to close Brighouse and Elland fire stations and build a new station in Rastrick.