MP calls for rethink on Taunton fire service cuts

A Somerset MP is urging the local fire authority to rethink plans to cut firefighters at Taunton Fire Station.

Taunton Deane Lib Dem Jeremy Browne is concerned that Devon and Somerset Fire Authority wants to reduce its two full-time fire crews at the station to one.

He said it is "illogical" to reduce the number of firefighters when "the population of Taunton is growing".

The authority said full-time firefighters will be reduced, but the number of engines will remain the same.

It said the first fire engine will remain full-time, with on-call firefighters crewing the second engine.

Mr Brown said: "Everyone realises that budgets are tight, but I want the Fire Authority to set out alternative saving plans that do not involve drastically reducing firefighter numbers in Taunton."

A Devon and Somerset Fire Authority spokesman said it has to find £5.5m over the next two years as its government grant is being reduced by 17%.

He added: "It is important to state that the number of incidents in Taunton has reduced by more than 21% over the last five years, due in part to the good community safety work carried out by firefighters in the town."

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