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Fire brigade solar panels bid sparks anger
7:30am Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
FIRE service bosses are spending money on solar panels instead of firefighters, it has been claimed.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will spend £2million on the panels for its buildings.
But there are no plans to fill 28 vacancies which were budgeted for.
Alan Chinn-Shaw, secretary of the Essex branch of the Fire Brigades’ Union, said: “They have not employed enough firefighters which has resulted in fire engines not being available to the public.”
Mr Chinn-Shaw claimed throughout the summer fire engines have not been sent to emergencies because there were not enough firefighters to crew them properly.
He also claimed the service has effectively given up on fire prevention work.
But the brigade defended its decision.
Speaking to the BBC, deputy chief fire officer Adam Eckley, said: "If we employed more firefighters this year, the likelihood is we would have to make them redundant next year.”
He claimed the solar panels on 31 stations would save £190,000 a year.
He said: “It is an investment today that will save Essex taxpayers tomorrow.”