The county’s chief fire officer has admitted he is ‘fearful’ of future spending cuts after Hyndburn lost one of its three fire engines.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed plans to remove one retained engine from the borough, leaving just one full-time and one retained engine, due to cuts to its government funding.
Hyndburn and Padiham are the only two areas in the county to lose a fire engine under the service’s Emergency Cover Review.
Chris Kenny, Lancashire’s Chief Fire Officer, said the decision followed a ‘thorough’ consultation.
But he added: “It is important to remember the service is required to make unprecedented levels of savings and although over half of these will be found elsewhere it is inevitable there will be some reduction to front line services,.
“I am fearful what we will be required to do if the government continue not to fund us properly.
“I am confident that the changes in emergency cover will deliver the savings necessary to ensure we remain within budget yet maximise the effectiveness of our emergency response capability.
“Even with these changes our overall response times to dwelling fire will remain one of the fastest in the country.”
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson chairs the fire authority’s planning committee. He said: “Unfortunately this is the least worst option as we need to save over £10 million in the next few years.
“Fifty per cent of that is from back office services but of course that also affects the front line as well and the other £5 million has to come from emergency cover which is fire appliances and staff.
“Of course it will have an impact which isn’t desirable but the impact will be less severe than other options. The coalition isn’t funding the service to a sufficient level.”
Conservative group leader Peter Britcliffe slammed the decision.
He said: "I cannot believe having one fire engine makes us safe. We've taken a disproportionate grading of the cuts in Hyndburn. I think there will be a general effect on callout times in Hyndburn and this is a very industrial area with major chemical works in the area."
The county will see its fleet cut from 60 fire engines to 58 .