PLANS to downgrade Deeside and Rhyl Fire Stations have been shelved for the time being.

Earlier this month, firefighters based in Rhyl and Deeside held a rally at Rhyl Fire Station in a bid to save them from being downgraded from a 24/7 service to a day staffing system.

Rhyl and Deeside’s fire stations both face being closed at night as part of cuts to North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, which plans to improve emergency cover in rural areas such as Corwen, Dolgellau and Porthmadog.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority members met today (December 18) to decide the way forward in relation to the future of emergency cover in North Wales following a public consultation which was carried out between July 21 2023 and September 30 2023.

A decision was taken not to progress with any of the options proposed and to continue with the current level of emergency cover..

Dylan Rees, Chair of the Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “It was recognised as being important to take account of all viewpoints and all the information available so that Members could confidently make a fair and balanced final decision.”

At the meeting, members considered the following:

The service’s enhanced variation of Option 1, referred to as Option 1a, which offers an increased level of cover in South Denbighshire, South Gwynedd and Anglesey.

Independent legal advice concerning the risk of judicial review – involving the legitimacy of public consultation and not following public opinion and professional advice.

The Leader: Rally at Rhyl Fire Station on December 9Rally at Rhyl Fire Station on December 9 (Image: Newsquest)
Chief Fire Officer Dawn Docx said: "We informed Members that we have had a successful public consultation and attained a certificate of Quality Assurance from the Consultation Institute, with whom we have been working throughout, which certifies that our public consultation met the required high standards expected. This comes following the completion of the Authority’s public sector duty under the Equality Act to conduct a detailed Equality Impact Analysis, which includes an equality impact assessment before and after the consultation process, which was also shared with Members.”

Mr Rees said: “First and foremost, the primary aim of the Authority is to protect the people of North Wales and ensure we can provide the best level of emergency cover across the whole of the region.

“Members considered all the information and evidence before voting on the way forward. After careful deliberation of Option 1a, which offered was an enhanced version of the option favoured by the public during the consultation, the decision was taken not to progress with that option which sought to improve emergency cover in rural areas, and to continue providing the same level of emergency cover as currently provided to the public in North Wales.

“Members formally rejected Options 2 and 3 presented in the consultation.

 “I would like to thank everyone who took part in this consultation and for providing valuable feedback to help members make a final decision.”

Ms Docx said: “I would like to echo the Chair’s thanks to the public for taking part in the consultation and I would also to thank Fire Authority Members for taking the time to consider and weigh up all the options.

“I am pleased that now agreement has been reached in relation to the level of emergency cover we can agree our budget for 2024/25. On that basis we can move forward to plan for the future and ensure that we can provide the best possible service to our communities.  

“I am also heartened by the fact that we will be able to achieve this without the loss of any firefighter jobs and without the loss of any of our fire stations.

“We now will turn our attention to working with our stakeholders to explore how we can work together within our budget to provide alternative improvements to emergency cover that meet the expectations of Authority Members.”

Darren Millar, MS for Clwyd West, posted on Facebook: "Pleased to hear that plans to downgrade Rhyl Fire Station have been shelved, for now.

"Essential that North Wales Fire and Rescue Service / Gwasanaeth Tân ac Achub Gogledd Cymru continue to listen to the public and other stakeholders and maintain 24/7 cover at this key location on the North Wales coast."

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has been approached for comment.