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22 March 2016
Northumberland County Council has given the green light to cuts to the fire service as part of plans to save £500,000.
The cuts include the closing of Haydon Bridge station, as well as the downsizing of the station at West Harton.
The Council's deputy leader and chair of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Authority, Dave Ledger, said: “No one wants to make cuts to such an important, much-loved, respected service with professional hard working staff who risk their lives on a daily basis.
"However, no viable alternatives have emerged or been suggested.
"Cutting the budget for the fire and rescue service is not something we want to do, however the council's core budget is being cut by 82.4% over the next four years. We simply have no choice."
The Fire Brigades Union has criticised the cuts, stating that the proposals, which will also see fire engines replaced with smaller vehicles carrying less life-saving equipment, will put firefighters and the public at risk.
Guy Tiffin, secretary for the FBU in Northumberland, said: “Our ability to protect the public will be severely compromised by these indefensible cuts. We ask that councillors reconsider this decision that will cost lives.
“Smaller fire crews that lack all the current specialist equipment could put firefighters in the very real situation of turning up at fires, road traffic accidents or flooding incidents and being unable to perform rescues.”