Thousands sign petition against cuts to fire service

A PETITION demanding a reversal in cuts to fire brigade cover in Surrey is nearing half the signatures needed to be considered by county councillors.

So far, 4,858 people had signed the petition, which was started by writer and actor Emma Kennedy.

Actor and writer Emma Kennedy at Chobham Fire Station

A minimum of 10,000 signatures is needed for Surrey County Council to debate the petition at a full meeting of the council, but the authority’s cabinet can decide to consider it at just 100.

Emma lives in Chobham, where the village fire station is due to be reduced from 24-hour cover in October.

“Thanks to everyone who has signed my petition to reverse the devastating cuts to our fire services in Surrey,” she said.

“If you can, please help us get the signatories up beyond 5,000. Our firefighters need all the support they can get.”

She has called the fire cover cuts being instituted by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service “terrifying for us local residents”

The brigade’s Making Surrey Safer reorganisation is moving staff from front-line appliances to fire prevention and education duties, in an effort to reduce the number of incidents. It took four engines out of service at night in April, including one at Woking, and is due to cut three more at nights next month.

The petition has been welcomed by the county Fire Brigades Union branch. Serving and former firefighters have also urged people to sign it on several “unofficial” fire station Facebook pages, including one for Painshill – which is due to be closed at nights under the reorganisation.

Emma’s petition is at https://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk.

The closing date is Thursday 17 September.

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