The former Watch Manager at Seascale Fire station, David Moore, has expressed regret at the vote by Cumbria’s Labour councillors to approve proposals for Frizington Fire Station which had been opposed by local firefighters and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
On Thursday 11th April Cumbria County Council was considering a proposed Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service. During the public consultation phase this had been opposed by the local Firefighters at Frizington and by the Copeland local committee of the County Council because of plans to replace the full-size tender at Frizington with a smaller “Rapid Response vehicle carrying fewer firefighters and less equipment.
When the IRMP came to the county council, Councillors from Copeland tried to amend the document to reflect the concerns of Frizington firefighters and the FBU, but this was voted down in a recorded vote along party lines by Labour and Lib/Dem councillors. Had the four Labour councillors from Copeland voted for the amendment it would have passed by one vote.
Conservative councillor Chris Whiteside moved an amendment which would have
- Kept Frizington’s current fire engine by removing it from the list of full-size tenders to be considered for replacement by an RRV and
- Required the fire service to report back to the county council on the results of a current trial of the new RRVs before any final decisions were taken.
That amendment was lost by 33 votes to 26 but would have been carried by 30 to 29 if the Copeland Labour county councillors had backed it.
Frizington councillor Arthur Lamb, who seconded the amendment, explained
“Frizington fire station has one of the best on-call records of any fire station in West Cumbria. The existing tender is available 90% of the time with the full team of four firefighters needed to deal with large fires, and serves an area of 10,000 people, which is a lot more than the other areas proposed for an RRV. Local firefighters believe this is the wrong proposal and they should have been listened to.”
David Moore, who was a firefighter for 42 years, the last 17 as watch manager, said that “To deal with a major fire you need four firefighters and the full complement of equipment. We would also need the Frizington team with a full size engine if there were ever a major fire incident at Sellafield. This was the wrong proposal.
“It’s a shame that Copeland’s Labour county councillors not only didn’t listen to the Frizington firefighters, or the FBU, and judging by posts on social media, didn’t even listen to their own activists.”
The Conservative candidate for Mayor of Copeland, Ged McGrath, said that
“I was sorry to see that Cumbria County council voted to considering replacing the Frizington fire engine with a smaller vehicle. I think this would be a mistake, and, if elected, would work with colleagues on the County Council to try to find a better solution.”