North East MSP Mike Rumbles has met Deputy Chief Fire Officer Iain Bushell and officials from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) in the Scottish Parliament to discuss the future of the fire service in Dundee. The issue was raised by Dundee Councillors Craig Duncan and Fraser Macpherson after concerned residents were told by local media that stations in the city could be under threat of closure.
Mr Bushell and his colleagues reassured the Liberal Democrat MSP that ‘no decisions had been made’ over possible reforms to the SFRS, and that a full and engaging public consultation would be carried out from February 2018. It was also made clear that if any changes are made to the emergency service, following the consultation, the aim would be to modernise and improve the service for the city.
Mr Rumbles said: “Fire Chiefs are right to want to bring our local fire services up-to-date, it’s no use having an emergency service that doesn’t meet the requirements of a modern community. However, it is absolutely necessary that any changes that are made, do improve the service for residents. That is all that matters.
“I was very encouraged by my meeting with Iain Bushell and the team from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service today. They have made it clear that this is not a cost cutting or box ticking exercise and that there will be a full and frank public consultation in the new year. I urge everyone who is concerned by potential changes to their local fire service to take the time to engage with the consultation process.”
Cllr Duncan, who represents the Ferry ward and the home of Balmossie Station, added: “No one doubts the valuable service provided by the hard working men and women of our local fire service. People are right to be concerned about their local services and that is why we must make a strong case in favour of keeping our stations at Balmossie and across the city.
“I am relieved that nothing has been carved in stone and that no-one is suggesting that Balmossie Station in the Ferry Ward is in danger. Even so, the meeting did not result in a commitment to keep Balmossie open, either. Mike, Fraser and I will be watching the consultation process closely over the coming months to ensure that local people’s views are represented.”