The Labour Welsh Government came under fire by Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood for not doing more to stop the closure of a much-missed Rhondda fire station.
The Rhondda-based Ms Wood told plenary that contacts in the South Wales Fire Service said some of the educational work which would have been undertaken by fire-fighters at the now closed Porth Fire Station was not being carried out in the local area. Ahead of the grassfire season, Ms Wood said this was a big concern.
Porth fire station was closed last summer despite a strong local campaign to retain it. Weeks before the closure Ms Wood, who lives just a couple of miles from the station in Penygraig, urged the Labour Government in Wales to intervene with their powers and duties over the fire service to promote public safety. Unfortunately, the last-ditch plea failed.
During questions to the Public Services Minister, who is also the Labour Rhondda AM, Leanne said: “Minister, the loss of Porth fire station was a big blow not just for the local community, but for the wider area, and this station and its loyal and dedicated firefighters served with distinction.
“We are well aware of the heroics that these firefighters performed on a regular basis, but the educational work that they performed behind the scenes was also of vital importance.
“Now, I understand from speaking to contacts from the station that the school visits that were happening before and the work carried out with the young adults who are deemed at risk of offending would have been carried out with distinction by the Porth firefighters, but that work has dropped off dramatically since the station’s closure.
“What provisions can be made to ensure that this vital educational work takes place ahead of the imminent grass fire period? Secondly, do you regret your Welsh Government did not do more to stop the closure of Porth fire station, given that you have powers and duties to ensure public safety?”
In reply, the Minister claimed that educational programmes are continuing and denied the Welsh Government had the powers proscribed under the Welsh National Fire and Rescue Framework.
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