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Orkney MSP calls for government to protect retained fire stations

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has written to Kenny MacAskill, cabinet secretary for justice, challenging him to guarantee that Scotland’s retained and volunteer fire services will not be diminished by plans to introduce a single national fire and rescue service.

At present, Orkney has 127 retained fire fighters, working out of 13 retained stations, spread across the isles.

Mr McArthur said: “Like so many rural areas in Scotland, Orkney relies heavily on its retained and volunteer fire fighters to provide this vital service.

“Following the justice secretary’s decision last week to proceed with creating a single fire and rescue service for Scotland, fears are growing that this may lead to the closure of retained stations.

“The loss of retained and volunteer stations would be a disaster for the islands, not least as it would inevitably result in increased response times, and heightened risk to both life and property.

“Such a situation would be utterly unacceptable, which is why I am seeking a commitment from the SNP government that no such closures will be sanctioned by ministers.”