Decision to plough ahead with Mid and West Wales fire control room closure “dangerous”, say firefighters
Responding to news that Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority have refused to review the decision to close Carmarthen fire control room, Barrie Davies, Fire Brigades Union secretary for Mid and West Wales, said:
“This could have serious consequences for public safety in our region.
“Local knowledge of remote rural areas will be lost, which will mean firefighters may take longer to get to incidents and tackle fires and other emergencies.
“Firefighters and local communities have united against this decision, which has been driven by a dangerous cuts agenda by a government that is willing to put lives at risk.”
The fire authority’s decision will see the number of control rooms in Wales reduce from three to two.
The control room at Llangynnor, a suburb of Carmarthen, will merge into a single control room in Bridgend, shared with the fire and police services in South Wales.
It will cover 3,750 square miles and over 2.5 million people: three quarters of Wales geographically and 80% of the country’s population.
The union says the closure will result in the loss of some 30 jobs, and was joined by Carmarthen Council, several rural and community councils and local people in its opposition to the move.
The Fire Authority’s decision to approve the merger was made at a closed meeting on Monday 24 March.
They met again on 23 June, where the FBU voiced its concerns, but decided to continue with the merger.
Mid & West Wales Fire Service say they will save in the region of £400k as a result of the change, although the union says the saving will be seriously reduced in the “likely event” that the project runs over budget.
Previous cuts had already seen the number of control rooms covering Mid and West Wales being reduced from three to one.