A rescue support unit (RSU) at Grantham fire station, which was threatened by cuts, has been saved.
It had been proposed to cut the unit at Grantham, just one of two in the county, as part of £1.6 million cuts over three years to the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service budget, but new proposals have been put forward.
The rescue support unit is used to deal with serious accidents and can be used to contain hazardous chemicals and lift heavy vehicles. The new proposals also say Lincoln South station should remain a 24 hour station and that the control room should remain independent and not be outsourced.
Ben Selby, secretary of the Lincolnshire branch of the Fire Brigades Union, welcomed the new proposals. He said: “This is very good news. With the A1 and the East Coast mainline nearby, we have a special risk at Grantham. Our members educated local councillors and the public about this and they have responded to the consultation and as a consequence of that the unit has been saved.”
Mr Selby, who is based at Grantham, said: “The main line and the A1 carry lots of hazardous materials. We need the capability to deal with large accidents where potentially someone is trapped, but also, as the recent tanker incident on the A1 showed, to stop the contamination of the local area.”
Following an 11-week consultation on the proposals, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is making a number of recommendations which will be considered at Lincolnshire County Council’s community and public safety scrutiny committee on Tuesday, July 26, ahead of a decision by the Council’s Executive on September 6.
Acting Chief Fire Officer Nick Borrill said: “We are very grateful to our staff, representative bodies and local residents for coming forward and sharing their views on the initial proposals as part of our consultation. We have had over 300 responses, all of which have helped inform our recommendations. An alternative proposal was put forward by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) around the Lincoln South option which, over the past few weeks, we’ve worked together to develop to ensure it will allow us to meet our savings targets, whilst minimising the impact on service delivery.”
Nick Worth, executive councillor for Fire and Rescue and Cultural Services at the County Council, said:
“I am very pleased that by working closely with the Fire Brigades Union, we have found a sustainable and efficient solution going forward. We are operating in challenging times and sadly we continue to experience a decreasing amount of funding from central government. This means that every public service we operate has had to re-evaluate and find efficiencies to deliver within a reduced budget.
“As a high priority service within the County Council, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has only seen a minimal reduction in its budget – whereas some services have been reduced significantly or stopped altogether.
“I’m confident that Nick and his team will be able to continue to deliver an efficient and effective service for the people of Lincolnshire.”