Importance of retained fire service highlighted

Montrose fire station.'Staff photograph
Montrose fire station.'Staff photograph

ASSURANCES are being sought that the Scottish Government will safeguard retained fire stations, including Montrose, in its reorganisation of the fire and rescue service.

Across Scotland 321 fire stations are staffed by 3,429 retained fire-fighters and North east Conservative MSP Nanette Milne this week said their strategic community importance should be protected in the formation of a single service. She has written to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to raise the issue.

She said: “In recent weeks, Scottish Conservatives have raised a number of concerns with, ministers regarding the future of rural police stations as well as the strategic role of Scotland’s mountain rescue teams prior to the establishment of single police and fire services. SNP Ministers have responded, simply stating that is an operational matter for individual forces – not providing clear assurances over the future of Scotland’s retained fire stations.

“Several rural police stations have already been closed and sold off. With the SNP Government pressing ahead with new single police and fire service structures, SNP Ministers must provide adequate assurances that the new structures will retain the current retained fire stations.”

As well as Montrose, Tayside Fire and Rescue operates retained fire stations in Angus at Arbroath, Balmossie near Monifieth, Brechin, Carnoustie, Forfar and Kirriemuir.

Dr Milne added: “There is an ever-growing number of questions regarding the future of community-based retained fire station under the SNP Scottish Government’s proposed single fire and rescue structures.

“Most retained fire stations are provided to meet the needs of emergencies in rural communities. There is real concern that these could face cuts due to the limited number of call outs which they respond to.”