1. ITV Report

The biggest shake-up in 50 years - Devon and Somerset Fire Service plans to close stations

The service currently has more than 120 engines. Credit: ITV West Country

Up to eight stations across Devon and Somerset could close as the shared fire service looks to save £8.4 million.

Appledore, Ashburton, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Kingston, Porlock, Topsham and Woolacombe are set to shut.

Some stations attend only a handful of fires each year and have more resources than they need.

Elsewhere, more resources are needed to improve the response the Service can provide.

– Devon and Somerset Fire
Devon and Somerset Fire are the largest employer of on-call firefighters in the country. Credit: ITV West Country

Six restructuring options will now be presented to the fire authority, all include shutting stations and the removal of fire engines.

These would be the most significant changes made to the service in half a century.

The service has already saved £12.2 million over the last five years but needs to save a further £8.4 million over the next three years.

Managers say they have carefully reviewed where staff and appliances are needed to minimise risk.

54 engines were called to The Royal Clarence Hotel fire in Exeter in 2016. Credit: ITV West Country

Devon and Somerset Fire currently have 85 stations, 121 fire engines, and 2,000 members of staff making them the biggest non-metropolitan fire and rescue service in the country.

The number of fires in the force area reduced by more than a third over the last decade.

The service says they want to bring the emergency service into the 21st century.

A 12 week consultation is expected to run from 1 July to 20 September 2019.

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