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of the British Broadcasting Corporation

 

 

Thursday, 29 November 2007, 08:59 GMT
Council U-turn on fire cover cuts


Plans to end 24-hour fire cover at one fire station may be scrapped in a U-turn by councillors.

Both Camborne and Falmouth fire stations faced an end to full-time cover overnight as part of £1m planned budget cuts by Cornwall County Council.

But after a fire service review, the council's executive committee is to recommend that the full council agrees to keep full-time cover at Camborne.

They will also ask for £300,000 to improve the retained fire service.

The proposals will be discussed at a full council meeting in January.

Representatives of the Fire Brigade's Union said they were pleased with the move but still wanted more to be done to safeguard the brigade's future.

The union has called a meeting of its members in Camborne to discuss the announcement.

Public concerns

Firefighters and unions have been campaigning against the plans which the county council said it needed to help address an overall £15m budget shortfall.

Camborne and Falmouth are the only county stations to be manned around the clock.

Under the plans emergency cover would be provided by firefighters responding from home, adding time to call outs.

David Whalley, leader of the council said: "We have listened to the concerns of the public and firefighters about proposed changes in the fire service, and looked at the research.

"The evidence shows the valuable work of our retained firefighters. But more money needs to be invested into the retained fire service to ensure we can recruit and retain effectively.

"We will therefore provide over £300,000 to improve the retained fire service."

Mr Whalley said a detailed risk assessment for the whole of Cornwall was due next year.