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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Dalton fire station set for axe as part of cost-cutting shake up in Cumbria

CONTROVERSIAL measures could see Dalton fire station axed and drastic changes to the fire service across Furness and Ulverston.

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under threat Dalton fire station has been earmarked for closure under the plans as Cumbria County Council attempts to make £24m of savings. Right, Cumbria County Councillor Barry Doughty who supports the proposals

Under the proposals, which are set to go out to consultation, Cumbria County Council has said it will move one full-time crew from Barrow to Ulverston and close Dalton fire station.

The proposals are part of a budget consultation which will see Cumbria County Council attempt to make £24m in savings.

The council said Dalton has been chosen as there have been problems recruiting at retained fire stations and only 40 per cent of callouts can be answered by the crew.

It also claimed a new full-time team being based in Ulverston would provide sufficient cover.

Further proposals include removal of one of the two fire engines currently based in Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport, Penrith and Kendal.

County councillor Barry Doughty, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “I know people will have concerns, I’d recommend they really look closely at the information and the budget consultation before they reach any conclusions.”

Ian Cartwright, deputy chief fire officer, said: “From a fire and rescue perspective the county is now safer than it has ever been; the chances of being involved in an incident, or suffering an injury if you are, have reduced massively.

“The service has to shape itself to the dangers that actually exist.”

However unions warned the council faces having to cut “too far and too fast”.

Dave Burn, chairman of the Cumbria Fire Brigades’ Union, said the safety of the public and firefighters would be “seriously compromised” if the changes came into force.

David Moore, a firefighter in Seascale for 42 years before his retirement this month, warned retained stations are already struggling to cope and further cuts would be “dangerous”.

Mr Moore added that nuclear plant Sellafield, although it has its own small brigade, relies on help from neighbouring stations in Cumbria.

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