Hereford & Worcester

Hereford & Worcester fire service stations could close

Four fire stations could shut in a bid to cut nearly £5m from the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

The proposals to save £4.7m over three years include closing two fire stations in Worcestershire and two in Herefordshire.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates said the service had made "significant savings" in recent years but said "we now have to look at our frontline".

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the plans threatened 126 posts.

Bewdley, Broadway, Kingsland and Whitchurch are pinpointed as stations that could close.

Alternative plans include removing fire engines from certain stations.

Slower response times

Steven Gould from the FBU said: "These plans will put lives at risk. We are already a small brigade as it is but these cuts are going to affect the public.

"We are historically a lean brigade - the average funding for fire services across the country is £20 per head and we only get £14 per head."

He added the plans would affect response times and put 126 posts at risk, 50 of which were full time.

"We will see a very different fire service in years to come," said Mr Gould.

A 12-week consultation will start if the plans are approved by the Fire Authority next month.

Mr Yates said: "We have made significant savings from our management structures, procurement and back-office functions... we will continue to examine these areas and anticipate further savings of approximately £2m from non-frontline services.

"It appears to be inevitable that over the coming years we will have fewer fire engines and firefighters but we believe the proposals... will have the least impact on the communities of our two counties and the safety of our firefighters."

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