Campaign to keep full-time crews at Yate fire station fails - but town gets extra engine

February 28 2017

YATE’S fire station will lose its full-time crews at night as planned - leading to accusations of a balanced budget being put ahead of public safety.

YATE’S fire station will lose its full-time crews at night as planned - leading to accusations of a balanced budget being put ahead of public safety.

Members of Avon Fire Authority have agreed to change the station’s cover system, meaning full-time firefighters will only be on duty in the daytime.

On-call retained crews - part-time staff brought in when needed - will be relied on to provide cover at night.

The change was among a number of proposals drawn up for Avon Fire and Rescue Service to save £5 million a year up to 2020, required due to central government grant cuts.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) protested against the plan for Yate, while the town’s civic leaders pressed for a revision to the proposal in order to avoid a “dramatic cut” in its service.

In a compromise, the fire authority said Yate would get two on-call fire engines instead of just one at night but it still went ahead with its plan.

It said the amendment “was made on the basis of concerns expressed through the consultation by members of the public, as well as Yate Town Council and the Fire Brigades Union”.

More retained firefighters for Yate will now be recruited.

Local Liberal Democrats councillors said: “While not the full time crew we wanted, it's a step in the right direction.”

But the FBU attacked the cuts to be implemented throughout the service, including the loss of 51 firefighter posts.

Gary Spindler, chairman of te union’s Avon branch, said: “It is clear that these plans have been used to try and balance the books instead of looking at the best ways to minimise risks in order to keep the public safe.

"These further cuts will mean a slower response to any incident in the Yate area during the night, something that will increase the risk to both the public and firefighters.”

Yate’s fire station has only had full-timers on duty around the clock since 2009 - a system introduced in response to an anticipated growing need for its services in the expanding town.

But that predicted need did not happen and the housing growth has not had any significant effect on the demand for fire and rescue services.