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Petitions

Volume 554: debated on Tuesday 27 November 2012

Petition

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Observations

Communities and Local Government

Ridge Fire Station (Hastings)

The Petition of residents of Hastings and Rye and the East Sussex area,

Declares that the recommendations put forward for local consultation by the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority to downgrade the service at The Ridge Fire Station in Hastings will have a negative effect on response times, and could therefore put the lives of local residents at risk.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Local Government and Communities to support local residents in opposing the recommendations made by the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority and contained within the Hastings Review.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Amber Rudd, Official Report, 7 November 2012; Vol. 552, c. 978.]

[P001129]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government;

The Fire Minister is aware that the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority is consulting on fire cover on the East Sussex area.

Fire and rescue authorities deliver an incredibly important service for local communities. And the Government have made a clear commitment to ensuring the effectiveness of frontline services. Every bit of the public sector needs to play its part to cut the deficit inherited from the last Administration. Fire and rescue, as a frontline emergency service, has been given funding protection with reductions back-loaded to give more time for sensible savings to be made without impacting on the quality and breadth of services offered to communities.

Savings could be found through more flexible staffing arrangements, better sickness management, sharing back office services, joint working, improved procurement and sharing Chief Fire Officers and other senior staff.

Fire and rescue authorities are required by the Fire and Rescue Service National Framework to have in place and maintain an Integrated Risk Management Plan. This identifies local need and sets out a plan to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. The Plan enables each fire and rescue authority to tailor the allocation of its resources to local circumstances, such as where fire stations and appliances are best positioned, by evaluating where risk is greatest and determining its priorities in relation to prevention and response accordingly.

It is for local government to take such decisions, based on professional advice of principal fire officers, and for elected representatives to be held to account at the ballot box for the decisions they take.