Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Demands Accountability for Rising Fire Service Response Times in North Yorkshire

16 Oct 2023

In light of concerning reports regarding the rising response times of North Yorkshire's fire service, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Harrogate & Knaresborough, Tom Gordon, is demanding accountability and answers from Conservative Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe regarding the reasons behind these worrying trends. He said the safety and well-being of the people of North Yorkshire are at stake, and the rising response times cannot be dismissed lightly.

While Commissioner Metcalfe has claimed that the service is improving and that progress is being made, the evidence tells a very different story. Recent inspections by government inspectors had rated the fire service as "inadequate” and more recently as "requires improvement." This raises questions about the effectiveness of the measures being taken to address these issues.

Commenting, Tom Gordon said: 

“Local residents I speak to are deeply worried. According to the latest figures, people in the areas covered by the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service had to wait an average of 13 minutes and nine seconds for firefighters to respond to incidents. This is an increase from 11 minutes and 37 seconds the previous year. It's clear that something is amiss, and the people of North Yorkshire deserve to know why their safety is being put at risk.

"One cannot help but wonder if these rising response times are a direct result of budget cuts or resource allocation decisions. It's essential that Commissioner Metcalfe provides a transparent and comprehensive explanation for these delays. If budget constraints or ill-advised resource changes are indeed contributing to slower response times, it is imperative that corrective actions are taken immediately to ensure the safety of our community.

"Moreover, while it is true that North Yorkshire is a vast county, the size of the area and the number of fire stations should not be used as excuses for inadequate response times. People's lives and properties are at stake, and their safety should always be the top priority.

"The safety of North Yorkshire's residents should be non-negotiable."