Member of the Senedd for Vale of Clwyd, Gareth Davies MS has raised deep concerns regarding the pending implementation of the North Wales Fire Service’s “Emergency Cover Review”.
The public consultation which opened on 21st July 2023 and runs until 22nd September 2023 gives the public an opportunity to have their say on the future of firefighting provision across the North Wales region. There are three options presented to the public which offer an alternative model to reduce the number of 24-hour wholetime staffed stations in Rhyl, Deeside and Wrexham. This would be replaced solely by day cover at the stations, leaving the night-time cover to the retained service.
Gareth Davies has been approached by valued sources in his constituency and across North Wales who wish to remain anonymous, about the potential dangers of such a move by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and the risk such cuts to wholetime services pose to members of the public if implemented after September, particularly at night time.
Commenting on the review by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Mr Davies said, “I am deeply concerned by the contents of the Emergency Cover Review as it seeks to replace Wholetime Fire Stations with only day-cover, leaving the night time only responsive to the retained service which poses a risk to my constituents and people across North Wales who have historically benefitted from rapid intervention by local Fire Services at night time from Wholetime Services, where I understand budgetary concerns are an issue as with many things in life. I feel this is a short sighted and kneejerk reaction to the current climate we’re facing. The priority always has to be the safety of the public and I feel such a move to eradicate Wholetime Fire Stations in Rhyl and North East Wales will have dire consequences for the safety of the public and the future integrity and trust of the North Wales Fire Authority and Fire and Rescue Service, I therefore request the Senior Leadership Team and decision makers in the Authority to think again on this matter and work in a manner which is cost-neutral whilst retaining the current Wholetime model that the area currently benefits from 24/7.”
Commenting further on the access to the “Emergency Cover Review”, Gareth adds, it has been reported to me by members of the public and I have seen for myself the difficulty and complexity of filling out the public consultation which poses a significant barrier to the volume of the public that will engage with the consultation, thus directly affecting the quality of data and the steering the Authority will receive in their decision making process, which is another reason why I believe this current review process is flawed and unrepresentative of the current needs and demands of the people of the Rhyl area and across North East Wales.”
Gareth has written to both the Chair of North Wales Fire Authority, Cllr Dylan Rees, and Dawn Docx, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service outlining these concerns.
Gareth added, “I call on the Chair and Chief Executive of the Fire Service to realise the potential safety impacts such decisions would have on local people and will either keep the status quo of having Wholetime Fire Stations in the area or adopt a Wholetime forward thinking approach that will listen and act in the best interests of the public, fire staff and all involved in the operations of North Wales Fire Service, people deserve to live in peace of mind that their local services are fully operational and it’s incumbent on those in charge of our local Fire Services to provide that antidote to public anxiety.”