Smaller fire engine at station ‘will have benefits for Pont’

Ponteland Fire Station.

Ponteland Fire Station.

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Changing the fire engine at Ponteland Fire Station to a smaller appliance will be beneficial in some ways, it has been claimed.

This proposal is part of the changes put forward by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service as a result of a £500,000 reduction to its budget in 2016/17.

A switch to a smaller vehicle is also planned at Seahouses and Wooler and for the second fire appliance at Alnwick Fire Station.

The service’s assistant chief fire officer Mark McCarty attended a meeting of Ponteland Town Council.

His answer was yes when asked by Mayor Carl Rawlings if Ponteland will be as safe if this change comes into effect.

Mr McCarty insisted the smaller appliance would be able to go to every single incident that the existing engine in Ponteland currently attends.

He added: “A three-quarter engine is 15-20 per cent cheaper to run than a full sized one.

“And in rural locations, it will be able to cover more of the narrow and winding roads than at present.

“For Ponteland specifically, we’re having problems in trying to recruit enough retained (on-call) to operate the appliance. At the moment, if Ponteland doesn’t have the requisite personnel numbers, cover is provided by Tyne and Wear over the border.

“So with a smaller appliance, the unit will be able go out to incidents more often because they will be able to go with fewer personnel.”

The consultation for the changes runs until Monday, February 15. For more information about it, call 0345 6006400 or visit www.northumberland.gov.uk

Mr McCarty also said there was no further movement on plans to re-locate Ponteland Fire Station as a result of the county council’s future housing provision proposals.