Essex Fire Service defends solar panel rather than staff-spend

Essex County Fire engine Money for the panels has come from savings made by the fire service

Related Stories

More money should be spent on staff rather than £2m being set aside for solar panels, firefighters claim.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service currently has 28 fewer firefighters than the 822 budgeted for this year.

It is now planning to spend £2m on solar panels at 31 stations around the county.

The Essex branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has criticised the decision claiming, a lack of staff had left some engines unavailable for service.

However, deputy chief fire officer Adam Eckley, said: "If we employed [more] firefighters this year, the likelihood is we would have to make them redundant next year.

"There were far more firefighters than we needed in the past. We now have the right number of firefighters.

Defending the service's decision to install solar panels at 31 stations - which will save the service £190,000 a year - Mr Eckley said it was "an investment today that will save Essex taxpayers tomorrow".

Alan Chinn-Shaw, of the FBU, said: "The question for me is more along the lines of where did the money come from?

"In this case it is from an under spend because they have not employed enough firefighters. That's consequently resulted in fire engines not being available to the public."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Essex



Min. Night 6 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • TravelAround the world

    BBC Travel takes a look at the most striking images from the past seven days


  • A bicycle with a Copenhagen WheelClick Watch

    The wheel giving push bikes an extra boost by turning them into smart electric hybrids

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.