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McInnes criticises cloak and dagger approach to fire control centre closures

October 1, 2013 1:48 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP hasAlison McInnesAlison McInnes criticised the Scottish Fire and Rescue Board and the Scottish Government over their cloak and dagger approach towards planned fire control centre closures. This comes after it emerged that local communities will not be consulted on plans which could see the closure of five out of eight fire control centres.

Last week the Scottish Fire and Rescue Board agreed to close five control centres including Dumfries, Fife and Falkirk. The remaining two will be chosen between Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee. Liberal Democrat parliamentarians across Scotland have hit out against the plans, warning that frontline fire services will suffer from the loss in local knowledge.

Commenting on news that the SFRS will not consult the public on their plans, Ms McInnes said:

"Local communities will be appalled at the cloak-and-dagger approach employed by the SFRS. Five of Scotland's fire control centres are facing closure and people living in the areas affected by this decision have no opportunity to make their opinions heard.

"The SFRS must clearly outline the decision-making process going forward and pledge to consult with the public on this decision. Anything less would be unacceptable.

"Ultimately, this is a mess of the SNP government's making. The SNP's centralisation plans stripped away local decision making, and now an unelected board, appointed on the say-so of the Cabinet Secretary, is stripping assets from our communities.

"I am clear that the closure of five of Scotland eight fire control centres would be damaging to our fire services ability to respond swiftly to emergencies. For a country with such remote rural communities it seems incomprehensible that these front line service would only exist between Johnstone and Dundee.

"On such a fundamental change being proposed to our emergency services, Scottish Liberal Democrats urge the SFRS board to listen to local concerns."