Lives will not be placed at risk

AS the county councillors who represent Sudbury, one of whom is responsible for Suffolk’s fire and rescue service, we are hugely disappointed by the scaremongering that some chose to peddle in last week’s Free Press (‘Cuts will put lives at risk’, August 30).

The decision to move one of Suffolk’s water carriers from Sudbury to Leiston will not put any lives at risk.

The water carrier, which is not a frontline fire engine, is a support vehicle used to transport water supplies to fire engines - if their own 1,500 litre supplies run short or there isn’t a fire hydrant nearby. This support isn’t always needed and is often a function fire engines can carry out themselves anyway.

The number of frontline fire engines based in Sudbury is not changing.

In the last year, the carrier was sent out just 16 times - six of which were to incidents in Essex. And on five occasions, it turned out that the water carrier wasn’t even needed and was returned.

Fire services work together like this on a daily basis. Essex Fire and Rescue Service has just bought two water carriers and is planning to base one in Halstead - just eight miles from Sudbury.

The water carrier at Sudbury was not based there because of the particular risk in the town. It was one of three used across the county to provide additional water, if required at protracted incidents.

The fire service is confident that the water carriers at Newmarket, Leiston and in neighbouring counties will be able to provide good coverage across Suffolk.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has recently ordered eight new fire engines, a new aerial appliance to be based in Ipswich and plans to purchase further new fire engines in the next 12 months.

The fire station at Sudbury was also re-opened just 12 months ago after being substantially refurbished.

So, clearly, lives are not being placed at risk and those that would spread such rumours ought to think seriously about the impact of their actions.

The county council is doing everything it can within a difficult financial climate to maintain and where possible improve our much loved and valued fire service.

COLIN SPENCE

County councillor for Sudbury East and Waldingfield and cabinet member for public protection

JOHN SAYERS

County councillor for Sudbury