In two weeks’ time, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) will decide on the future of Tollcross Fire Control Room in Edinburgh.
Earlier today, I raised the issue in Parliament during General Questions and sought assurances from the Scottish Government that services would not be affected by changes to the SFRS estate.
The Edinburgh control room, which dispatches fire units to emergencies across the old Lothian and Borders region, is facing an uncertain future amid cost cutting measures following the move to a national service last year.
As part of that process, the number of control rooms serving the entire country is being cut from eight to three. Johnstone is the only facility guaranteed to remain in operation with the Board still to identify two to be retained from Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.
I am convinced that it doesn’t make sense to close Tollcross. It is the only one of the four contenders in east Scotland making it the ideal base to direct calls from Fife the Lothians and the Borders.
I also believe that the retention of Tollcross would be best for jobs. While the Fire Service has spoken about re-deployment, I have met with Edinburgh based staff who travel in to work from outside the city and are concerned that moving their families is not be a practical option.
I have raised these points with the SFRS and hope that they agree that Edinburgh should be retained.