An urgent call to drop the proposed changes to Fire Services

Uckfield Fire Service

Last night, Uckfield Town Council’s General Purposes Committee passed a proposal against the content of the East Sussex Fire Authority’s Public Consultation document “Planning for a Safer Future.”

Councillor Ben Cox (Labour and Co-operative) initially put forward a comprehensive proposal, which not only highlighted his disagreement with the changes to resources and duty stations/crew, but also requested further information from the East Sussex Fire Authority including a risk assessment of the impact these changes would have on all South East services. Members raised further concerns with regards to the timing of the public consultation and impact of new housing developments on the emergency services’ ability to respond. Additions to the proposal were made by Councillors Angie Smith (Labour), James Edwards (Liberal Democrats) and Jackie Love (Trust Independents and Deputy Mayor), which resulted in a decision by the Committee, that:

“Uckfield Town Council urgently and forcefully calls upon the East Sussex Fire Authority, to immediately drop all and any proposed amendments to the Fire Service in our county. This council believes that the proposed cuts will put the town and its villages at risk and in danger. The council wholeheartedly disagrees with the cuts and will push back at East Sussex County Council on the proposal. And to our best endeavours fight to keep the high standards and first rate fire service that the people of Uckfield deserve.”

As a result of passing this proposal, Uckfield Town Council will,

  1. Demand that any public consultation be suspended until it can be given proper consideration (post Covid-19);
  2. Ensure that consideration is given to the new large-scale housing developments and subsequent population increase in this area in the next 5-10 years;
  • Demand a comprehensive risk assessment of the impact of the cuts to all South East fire and rescue services, and in dealing with capacity for East Sussex;
  1. Ask for modelling of common fire risks in Wealden such as bush fires on the Ashdown Forest and the effects to capacity on Uckfield’s Fire station;
  2. Demand a full explanation from East Sussex Fire Authority on the proposed cuts.”

Town Councillor Ben Cox said “In recent years we have seen the extreme pressure that fire services have faced in neighbouring counties. Cuts to West Sussex and Surrey Fire and Rescue have meant that their services are inadequately funded potentially putting lives at risk. We cannot allow the same thing to happen in East Sussex too. Today is the day we say no to any more cuts. I have spoken with serving firefighters and they all express concerns that any further cuts will put both their lives and the lives of the public at risk.”

Listen to Cllr. Ben Cox and Eliot Parry from Fire Brigade Union