MORE than 4,600 people have signed a petition against fire brigade cuts launched by a writer and actor from Chobham.

Emma Kennedy joined rock star Brian May in calling on the Surrey brigade to halt a reorganisation which is cutting the number of appliances available at night, including engines at Woking, Guildford and Camberley stations.

Emma has called the Making Surrey Safer reorganisation “terrifying for us local residents”, saying Surrey County Council “has its priorities all wrong” in allowing the cuts to go ahead.

Her campaign follows Queen guitarist May tweeting his anger at a fire service “criminally cut back in manpower and resources” following the Chobham Common wildfire which burned near his home in Windlesham.

The Fire Brigades Union says Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the county council must now listen to protests from the celebrities and the public, at a time when as many as nine fire engines are unavailable across the county each day because of firefighter shortages.

Emma – whose work includes writing The Kennedys sitcom for BBC One and appearing in a variety of TV, radio and theatre shows as well as writing books – said: “In the past few weeks, I’ve seen how woefully overstretched our firefighters in Surrey are.

“For five consecutive days in August, our firefighters had to battle heat, dehydration and exhaustion to bring wildfires on our heathland and commons under control.

“You might think our firefighters have everything they need, but they don't. In Chobham, local volunteers stepped up to provide food and drink for firefighters in dire need of support when the local common was on fire.”

Emma added: “Chobham Fire Station, the nearest to the common, will no longer be permanently crewed under the reorganisation, leaving it only able to respond at night and weekends. This is madness.”

The Making Surrey Safer plan took four fire appliances out of service from 7pm to 7am in April. Three others, at Painshill, Egham and Banstead, are due to be without crews at nights from October.

Graham Whitfield, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union Surrey branch, said: “We’ve spent over a year campaigning against dangerous cuts to our service. More than 13,000 people stood with us last year in opposition, but recent weeks have shown even more people just how exposed our county now is when a major fire or flood breaks out.

“We want to thank Emma Kennedy for starting this new petition and figures in our community like Brian May for speaking out against fire cuts. Unless reversed, these cuts are going to prove deadly.”

To sign the petition, visit