Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd has called on the North Wales Fire Authority to scrap plans to cut a whole-time fire engine and 24 firefighters’ jobs in Wrexham in the light of ongoing arson attacks and an increased workload.
Mr Gruffydd said the “epidemic” of deliberate fires in the area couples with news that the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service would face greater demands from April 1st due to flood prevention work meant that cutting services was “dangerous and irresponsible”.
Mr Gruffydd added, “The Government has today announced £1.8m extra funding to ensure Welsh fire services are able to deal with increased demands on their time for flood prevention. That will mean more staff on call during emergencies and to prevent floods happening in the first place.
“Coupled with the alarming epidemic of arsons in the Wrexham area, it would be dangerous and irresponsible to cut one of the town’s two whole-time fire engines and 24 firefighters’ jobs. That amounts to one in six of the entire full-time firefighters in the North.
“If this is allowed to happen, would there be sufficient capacity within the service to deal with a combination of emergencies?
“Firefighters in Wrexham are already dealing with a quarter of all call-outs in the region yet do not have a quarter of the staff or resources. I have great concerns for the service across the North if these cuts are implemented, especially as response times to emergency call-outs are worsening. Now is not the time to cut this vital service.”
A final decision on the proposed cut is being made on March 20th by the North Wales Fire Authority and campaigners will be staging a last-minute lobby outside Wrexham’s Guildhall from 10am to try to reverse the decision.