Fire axe falls

STEVENAGE fire station will lose four firefighters as part of a shake up of the fire service in Hertfordshire. Firefighters are now considering strike action after a community safety plan was agreed by county councillors on Tuesday. The plan will mean fi

STEVENAGE fire station will lose four firefighters as part of a shake up of the fire service in Hertfordshire.

Firefighters are now considering strike action after a community safety plan was agreed by county councillors on Tuesday.

The plan will mean firefighters will be lost from Stevenage, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. But Hitchin station will gain two firefighters.

The county council also agreed that Radlett and Bovingdon fire stations will close, shift patterns will change and a community safety task force will be introduced.

The county council said the personnel lost at Stevenage will be reinvested back into the fire service as part of the task force.

The plans are hoped to increase investment into community safety, provide a more flexible use of resources and maintain fire cover.

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County councillor David Lloyd said: "I know the proposals have been very emotive. My message to Hertfordshire residents is that fire cover will not be compromised. We are going to make the best use of our resources."

Tony Smith, vice-chairman of Herts Fire Brigades Union, said: "This is dreadful news for the Herts Fire and Rescue Service. These cuts will impact on public safety and our safety.

"These cuts will rip the heart out of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. We will be responding more slowly to 999 calls with fewer firefighters and with less rescue equipment available.

"That's why the vast majority of professionals in the Hertfordshire fire service oppose these cuts.

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