Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1,000 and counting........

Just a little note to say thank you to all the people who  have hit the "FCCL"site over the weekend, there has been over ONE THOUSAND HITS since friday evening when we announced we were having a weekend off. (Which had a great deal to do with reading documents, singing, rabbits and a dose of man flu).

But with the smell of honey and lemon in the back ground and the effects of last nights large swig  of nightnurse slowly wearing off we are ready to start unpicking the tale of who gets paid what in West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

On September 14th the fire authority audit committee met to approve this years accounts, and we can't help but wonder if the councillors on it toes curled the  same as ours did when we read them. ............

In 2010 -11 the authority employed 15 people in the pay band £50 - 54,999   (Thats roughly  £25/26 an hour )

In 2011-12  that had increased by 100% to 30!

This is from a service that is going to get cut by up to 25% in coming years. That is selling off PUBLIC assets including in our opinion historic ones.   

We at FCCL think that the fire authority should look to doing some serious housekeeping 

before cutting

Tomorrows blog will be

"all you wanted to know about the Chief Fire Officers Salary (and associated benefits) but  were afraid to ask"
Anyway before we go we would just like to point out that the clocks went back on Sunday and now its time to get the consultation back its star billing, click here to view

oooohhhh and tomorrow we will be revealing our new FCCL very limited edition T Shirts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Apologies but we are busy reading "stuff"

We have had several complaints about why we have not blogged as promised regarding reports presented to area committees.

This is because we have been blown off our tracks completely by some information that has dropped into the FCCL mailbox which requires us to study it carefully.

Normal service will be resumed Monday -----and in the meantime please do not forget that this time next week we will all be donning scarves and mittens to attend the Fire Brigades Union March and Rally setting off from outside Leeds Art Gallery at 12.30pm.

Further information about the FBU can be found HERE

Enjoy your weekend, dont forget to turn your clocks back Sunday morning AND check your smoke alarm

The FCCL Team

Thursday, October 25, 2012


We at FCCL have been overwhelmed by the support we have had over the past few weeks. Sometimes running a campaign is hard work but this one is a pleasure to work on. The campaign has brought a group of diverse people together  for a common purpose; to oppose the proposals that are to be voted on 21st December by the West Yorkshire Fire Authority. 

But the more we uncover "discrepancies" like the proposed close call crewing that was so important in June and got "binned" in September and the fact that house fires in some areas are on the up not down. (Killingbeck and Seacroft in East Leeds had an 18% rise in 2011) the more we become confident that the fire authority will listen to the reasoned and very genuine concerns of members of the voting public.


What we dont understand is way back in June the the Fire Authority listed in a news feed the following :-

Labour and Liberal Democrats Seal Partnership

Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors on the country’s fourth largest metropolitan fire authority are to maintain their joint working agreement.
The two parties first came together to form a political leadership team in 2010.
“We have shelved party interests in favour of maintaining political stability at a time of unprecedented financial crisis,” explained Labour group leader, Mehboob Khan.
“The fire authority is losing 25 per cent of its central government grant so I don’t under-estimate the pain that has already brought, and will continue to bring over the next two years,” he said. “However, robust plans are in place to try and manage the deficit and with steady hands at the tiller and the support and commitment of everyone concerned we will do everything possible to try and protect our vital front-line emergency service.”
Councillor Khan was elected unopposed as the new authority Chair.
Councillor Khan is the Leader of Kirklees Council and has been active in the Labour party for more than 20 years. He is a prominent member of the Local Government Association, a non-executive director of NHS Kirklees and is a governor of Greenhead College.
His Vice-Chair for 2012/13 will be fellow Kirklees councillor, Judith Hughes.

This was in June - what happens now ?  Will labour and the liberals  stay "married" we don't understand why the liberals  bothered  as even if they had a Condem Coalition, Labour hold the majority of seats - UNLESS OF COURSE SOME LABOUR COUNCILLORS WILL VOTE WITH THEIR CONSCIENCES IN DECEMBER AND DEFY THE WHIP!!!!!!!!

Last year we worked closely with Cllr Ron Grahame (Leeds,Labour) who said all the right things right up to the final hour. Even his colleague Cllr Asghar Khan thought he was voting against the closures. But Ron walked in to the WYFRA meeting came straight over to the FBU and said "sorry boys i have been whipped"   voted the cuts thorough and then went had had a huge row with Sarah Covell in the foyer of Birkenshaw who gave him the benefit of her opinion and has campaigned vigourously against him ever since. He then later in a telephone interview  told a reporter he had done the right thing, the cuts were necessary, he regretted nothing.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS INTERESTING ---- a few minutes after the initial interview Ron rang the journalist back and said he had been unable to talk as someone was in the room. He had no choice - he had never faced a three line whip before.

Who elects these politicians  ? WE THE PUBLIC DO ?

Who hold the Whip ?  Well we are not sure but we do know it takes a great deal of courage to oppose it and say NO!!!!! Courage many councillors lack.

No doubt "the party"  can make the lives pretty miserable for people who defy them, threaten them with deselection maybe and bump them off a few committees.

Had Ron stuck by his promises he would have had our respect - the other politicians would have still voted the IRMP through but Ron would have spoken up for his community instead of kicking it and reducing its cover. Since then we have sat in committee meetings in Leeds where he has said "the fire service is stretched to breaking point" , that the new station in inner east leeds should be built nearer the areas of high risk (when Ron clearly voted to reduce cover, increase call out times and build the new station further away.)

It is the same with other fire authority members, Cllr Sharon Hamilton (labour Moortown Leeds) will be an interesting one to watch this year. Last year she voted to reduce the cover in her own ward at Moortown and this year will possibly vote to close it completely. Yet wearing a different hat as a NHS worker (Unison member  we think) screams from the rafters about cuts in the health service whilst welding a grim reapers axe to the fire service and fellow union members.

We swear you couldnt make it up ............................. just remember if your councillor is on the Fire Authority and votes these cuts through - quite simply DON'T VOTE FOR THEM AGAIN.


Tomorrow  we will demonstrate how WYFRS manipulate the figures they present to council committees, by demonstrating the handiwork of Station Commander Nigel Kirk - watch this space :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012



We were left a  message at the FCCL HQ which suggested we take a peek at the planning application which was approved in only  June 2012  to build a close call crewing block at Rothwell Fire Station........... so we did :-) 

Close Call" Crewing System is a WYFRS term to describe a shift system whereby fire-fighters are either on duty on station during the day or residing in purpose provided accommodation nearby from which they can be quickly mobilised. They are therefore "on call" at the accommodation but whilst there can carry out normal quasi residential activities, i.e. preparing food, eating, sleeping and washing etc. The shift pattern would normally commence at station one morning at 08:00hrs until approximately 19:00hrs. Following this time, the fire fighter would retire to the accommodation where they would be on standby for call out from 19:00hrs until 08:00hrs. This would normally continue for a four day stretch until the end of the four day tour of duty when the next shift would take over. There would be two main alternative shifts with each tour of duty lasting four whole days.  

Close call crewing sounds to us like it will ruin your marriage, wreck your family life and probably requires you  to sign away your rights as per the European working time directive.(and would be unsuitable for fire fighters with caring responsibilities- like being a mum springs to mind!!!!!!!)

Anyway ................ why would WYFRS go to all this trouble AND EXPENSE to build what is essentially a glorified dormitory when the new IMRP plans say bye bye Rothwell. Here the plot thickens .........

But it is the documentation they have provided that made the red mist descend today. Here is a choice excerpt from the information they provided to the planning committee in April 2012. 

 “It is unnecessary to stress the operational advantages and the need for speed in responding to emergency calls as in many situations even seconds count when lives and property are in danger. The current proposals for Rothwell are operationally more desirable as it contains all the activities associated with the fire station within the site, and ensures that staff are located as close as possible to the station to ensure fast response times.”
Plans submitted to LCC in April 2012 

REALLY !!!!!! 
 so why less than 4 months later are WYFRS
 saying that an increase in response times  of 
3 MINUTES is ACCEPTABLE in the Rothwell area?

But also of interest is the SITE CONTAMINATION REPORT  which states that potential sources of contamination are

  • General contaminants in the made ground derived from past building and demolition works
  • Hydrocarbon contamination derived from leakage or spillage of fuel and oil in the bunded storage area or during maintenance of fire fighting vehicles.
  • Surfactant contamination derived from the use of fire fighting foam solutions in the practice area
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) contamination from burning vehicle run off in the practice area.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the area of the former sub station on the northern boundary derived from the leakage of the transformer fluids.

Excerpt from planning application  


Rothwell close call land                 £80,000
Rothwell close call block                £350,000

BUT ALL OF THIS IS HAS BEEN SCRAPPED NOT FOUR MONTHS LATER IN FAVOUR OF CLOSING ROTHWELL DOWN .....................................................................................

Which proves to FCCL that the plans currently out to consultation have been thrown together in a rush, are badly thought through and designed and are not fit for purpose.

How can WYFRS say one thing in early  2012 and then retract it in September? 

Rothwell it seems is getting a particularly

And of course whatever is built there when / if the station is sold will still have the contamination issue.

FCCL have sent this information to the local Rothwell Councillors for comment, and also wish to bring to everybodies attention that this planning application was approved NOT at COMMITTEE but by DELEGATED AUTHORITY  ---- which means an employee of the planning department approved it not local elected members. FCCL stress it is essentail that ALL FUTURE WYFRS PLANNING APPLICATIONS ARE DECIDED IN THE PUBLIC ARENA  (Not behind closed  doors!!!)  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Simon - Tell the Truth !!!!!!!!

Sometimes it is best to tell the TRUTH and it seems that ED BALLS MP agrees with us. After  a recent meeting with  the Fire Brigades Union, David Williams said ......

"it went, really really well today....he seems to be up for the fight but was a little concerned about the attitude of the chief and how easily it was for the chief to say he can manage the cuts yet when he spoke to the chief constable of West Yorks he said he couldn't manage the cuts....."

We too are concerned about CFO Pillings attitude. Last years Integrated Risk Management Plan  decided on this 


NOW IN 2012  he proposes

A growing band of people 

seem to think ............that Simon simply doesn't grasp the enormity of what he is proposing. 
A member of the FCCL team met one of his  operational colleagues last week and this is what was said.

" he said to me that they (the Firefighters at Gipton and Stanks) wouldn't mind so much if the chief was honest, put his hands up, and said "Hey, we've got no money so I need to make cuts, instead of trying to convince us that these new "Superstations" would be better for all. We are so used to managements lies and bullshit, that we just don't believe them, and from a professional point of view  we know its wrong!"

So come on Simon,  come out of your Ivory Tower and face the public ..................  we know you have a softer side.

And don't forget the March and Rally, 
Saturday November 3rd, 12.30pm outside Leeds Art Gallery. 



Guest Speakers include Matt Wrack of the FBU. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Are Deals Being Done Behind Closed Doors

Last night at the Inner East Leeds Area Committee, shortly after we pointed out to the Councillors that they had failed to notice that in Killingbeck & Seacroft ward there had been an INCREASE in just one year in HOUSE FIRES of 18%!   Cllr Ron Grahame (Labour) and member of the Fire Authority said to the Chair that he considered the site at Killingbeck to be not suitable and that “they” from which we took it to mean the fire authority, were considering a site much lower down York Road at the old Hepworth’s factory, opposite the White Horse Pub.  He clearly stated that this new station would be nearer to the areas of very high risk.

Now correct me if I am wrong (and I am not) Station Commander Nigel Kirk of Gipton at the same meeting he sneakily got through  an 18% increase in house fires without as much as  a murmur from elected members did say that WYFRS HAD ALREADY submitted a planning application to Leeds City Council for a three bay station at Killingbeck.   We discovered the next day on investigation this simply was not true and no plans have as yet gone in.

So  last night by the miracle of modern technology Ron had waiting for him in his inbox by the time he had got on to the next agenda item an email from FCCL.

We said ..........

Dear Councillor,
At the inner east area committee on the 18th Oct 2012 under matters  arising you brought to the chairs attention that your personal preferred option was to build a fire station at the old
Hepworth's site on york road, nearer the area of high risk . FCCL wish to know if this is going to be presented to the fire  authority on Dec 21st. And do you think  as we do that this would  mean that to provide adequate cover Stanks FS would have to remain operational?  

He replied ................

That will be decided when we met as a fire athourity.

Cllr Ron Grahame
Burmantofts & Richmond Hill Ward
Tel: 07742533785
Labour Group

Now on first reading, you realise that he can’t actually spell authority, which is a bit scary as this man votes and makes decisions  on huge multi million pound projects;  but then bells ring as he also mixes his tenses.  That will be decided WHEN WE MET as a fire authority. 

Many of us at FCCL have just as soft a spot for Stank’s brutalist architecture as we all do for Giptons industrial art deco and have jumped on this Freudian slip of Rons like cats on a hot tin roof.

But we are not above a compromise so we sent him this

Cllr Grahame

FCCL requires clarification in regard to the statement "That will be decided when we met as a fire athourity."

Do you mean the fire authority has met albeit informally to discuss the potential of a station at the Hepworth’s site and will be presenting this as an option at the full authority meeting on the 21st  December?

Do you mean it is going to be a labour group proposal ?  Our in house experts lead us to believe that this site is unsuitable and would have significant issues as York Road at that point is divided with a metal barrier and adding traffic lights or indeed a roundabout would incur significant costs. If of course you imply that the station should exit onto the Burmantofts side then this would increase response times significantly as it is  nearly a half mile drive to get back to the front of York Road which would impact on the Richmond Hill side of your ward.

We have a suggestion. Why not a compromise, keep Gipton operational and open a one engine station at the old Netto site at Crossgates?  It has perfect access, decent arterial roads and is located perfectly to cover surrounding areas. It will be cheaper and we believe less controversial at the planning stage.

KInd regards

FCCL team


BUT are deals being done behind closed doors?  Are the fire authority beginning to get cold feet about the massive cuts?  We at FCCL look forward to the ongoing debate.

Which of course brings us nicely round again to station cats and cars in car parks.

Who needs technology and the internet when there is a network of cats linking the WYFRS estate together, and after a meeting regarding the cuts in provision held in Baildon  “Idle cat*” has repurrted (that's NOT a spelling mistake btw)  that yet again senior fire officers parked up their £50k motors and went to the public meeting in the station van.

But in “kittygation”  the station cat at Howarth has told us they justify these valuable high purrformance cars as they can get the driver to a shout in any weather.  Just a little note  aside every station cat is shortly to be issued with a camera as we have offered a case of sardines reward for any cat submitting a picture with their reports to us.

Idle Station Cat demonstrating her four paw drive in snowy conditions 

*Idle station cat would like us to point out that her unfortunate name does not reflect on her operational duties one bit. She is a sleek, high  performance moggy who can be relied on in all weathers. See picture above ( we bet she didn’t cost £50k though).  


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What would you not leave the house without?

Assuming you are well off enough to have house contents insurance, so you would be confident  in receiving compensation for your loss of such items as your computer, television, clothes  etc – what would you not leave a burning building without?

Those irreplaceable items such as old photos, first lock of babies hair, a treasured picture or maybe even a pet.  A quick poll of the FCCL office has come up with the following list of must take items:-

  • Handbag  (apparently the entire universe is held within said item )
  • A portrait of my son painted by my brother
  • The rabbit (various pets have been mentioned)
  • Family tree charts
  • Spouses Ashes

Now although we are aware of the fire and rescue service coming to the assistance of animals in distress, for example  in Vesper Road, Leeds on the 14th October a hawk was rescued from a tree and on  7th October a horse in Bradford was freed when it got its leg stuck in a gap in a bridge nothing quite beats the story of Bibi Bunny a beautiful French lop who lives in Beaulieu, Hampshire. 

Bibis house had a chimney fire, and so Bibi's owners (although Bibi herself prefers the term “pets”)  stuffed the rather  bulky bunny into a cage so she could be safely evacuated should the need arise.

When the firefighters from Beaulieu Station arrived (and one hopes after promptly extinguishing the fire ) they did what all fire fighters do. Stopped long enough  for a cup of tea and cuddled  the rabbit. 


And look who we have got a thank you from  - click here to reveal who !  

Nice to see somebody cares unlike Cllr Lisa Holmes who seems to have a very strange view of the word "consultation" click here to read her letter to FCCL

A Question for David Milliband

We have been given an opportunity to ask via a london based journalist a question of David Milliband. 

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue are currently "consulting" with the community of West Yorkshire in regard to losing one in five operational fire fighting posts. The West Yorkshire Fire Authority is labour controlled and is looking likely (the same as last year infact) to rubber stamp viscous cuts in front line fire fighters whilst keeping the management positions unscathed.

Will you condone this - a labour authority cutting coal face workers (many of them members of the Fire Brigades Union) in favour of retaining positions at the top table........?

Firecutscostlives Team

We await the response with interest .......................

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Report of Meeting of Howarth Parish Council

Haworth Parish Council Meeting 15-10-12

Just a quick report of the nights proceedings from Jo40. 

First up was the Police who gave a glowing report of the crime detection and reduction in the area and made all present who didn't live within the Haworth boundary most envious.
Next came the local cricket team who were praised for their endeavors.

By this stage the hall was standing room only and the senior officers from WYFRS were introduced and set about there presentation backed up with facts ,figures,and colour coded maps etc
After showing the range of cuts officer 1 indicated that if it wasn't these cuts it would be something else.Staff would be reduced from 1350 to 800.

Next was question time...............

Councillor _questioned the cost of building new stations.
Councillor- questioned what would happen in the event of numerous Moorland fires with multi pump attendance
WYFRS _ Mobilising will task appliances and most now have GPS 

Councillor_questioned the north south divide and the distribution of funding.
Councillor_Where will you get supporting fire cover

WYFRS_Lancashire will be able to help

Councillor_Could the fire station be shared with other agencys to save costs ? genuinely worried that just one pump at Keighley to cover the worth valley not enough.
How had you worked out the case for cuts

WYFRS-_Risk levels and station activity

Councillor_ If Keighley are out when can we expect an appliance?
WYFRS- Illingworth 10/12 mins,Bingley 15 mins,Fairweather Green 15 mins

Public_How easy would it be to re open or re staff Haworth or Keighley if funds became available?
WYFRS_No anticipation of extra funding Howarth site will be sold.

Public_I'm lead to believe some procedures require two pumps
WYFRS-_its the Officer In Charge's call these decisions being made now.

Public-_will the education of school age pupils in fire safety be effected?
WYFRS_ no change anticipated.

Public_How much will the closure of Haworth F/stn save?
David Williams (FBU) _ Quoting ACO Redfearn Would the cuts cost lives?
WYFRS_Aknowledge ACO Redfearns quote and stated that fire deaths were down on previous years.

Public_How long have you got in a smoke filled room before you die ?
WYFRS_The smoke alarm will save you

Public -How long have we got ??

Public_Why cant we have small units /vans we seem to be over resourced 
WYFRS_ Fire Response Units  mentioned

Public _what are your plans for the 5th November 2020?
WYFRS _ Resilience pumps on peak periods.
David Williams _ Smoke alarms do not always save lives, of the number of uk fire deaths a good percentage had working smoke detection.

Public_Concern about the number of hotels and guest houses in the area and tourist from overseas.
Public_ Have you heard anything tonight that may effect your decision ?
WYFRS_we don't make the decision its down to the fire authority but we will be giving our professional view in a report.

JO40 - I've left some bits out but that's all the important bits of a well attended meeting in which the people of Haworth let WYFRS know that they felt let down.

BUT ......................

Before we go, the station cat at Haworth Fire Station noticed a couple of nice motors on Haworth station yard last night,£100,000 the pair unfortunately the occupants had to deploy the last quarter of a mile in the station van to the meeting.

6x nice motors = Haworth pump on run for a year, just a thought, Meow Meow. 

The next public meeting we have been notified of is in Ossett on Monday 22nd October - BUT to date the FBU have NOT been invited !!!!
click HERE  to learn who hasn't invited them.






Monday, October 15, 2012

Haworth Parish Council Meeting TONIGHT

Please do not forget that Haworth Parish Council is tonight meeting representatives from the fire service,fire brigades union and local firefighters to discuss the proposed cuts in provision.

We expect it to be a "lively" meeting as response times in the area will increase by a whopping 3.47  minutes.

1  District 2  Ward 3  Response time  4 Predicted response time in 2020 5 Impact on response 
Bradford Worth Valley 09:0912:5603:47
Bradford Idle and Thackley 04:1807:5303:34
Bradford Shipley 03:2706:4303:17

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Interesting facts and a lot of fiction

We at FCCL are deep in studying the data provided to us by WYFRS and are discovering some interesting facts  that  prove WYFRS are writing fiction.

Tomorrow we will start to publish some of the "interesting" things we have discovered.......why for example is a street in Halton deemed low risk when all around it are high? When incidents in that area have increased by 27% in 2011/12?

And just to keep you up to date - Friday an elderly lady was involved in a chip pan fire in Garforrth and appliances from Garforth, Gipton and Stanks attended.

What will happen when ALL THREE of these stations close? 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Open Letter To Station Commander Kirk

It seems that many people are getting the blame for and being implicated in the listing application that i submitted for Gipton Fire Station. 

I have written an open letter to Station Commander Nigel Kirk to clarify what really happened and in part explain  why i did what i did. 

The Letter is available HERE  

Yours in Unity

Ps - we have updated the Public meetings page too regarding Haworth.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

WYFRS have to reveal the truth

The aim of this site is TRANSPARENCY - to bring into the public domain information about West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue that you may not be aware of and most importantly for us to use and share the information we find and put it in the public domain. 

Today we learnt that the  Information Commissioners Office has passed a judgement which means WYFRS should  have to reveal information about its income from training - but scarily the report seems to indicate 


Reference:  FS50446509 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) 
Decision notice 
Date:    1 October 2012 
Public Authority: West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service 
Address:   Oakroyd Hall 
                 Bradford  Road 
                West Yorkshire 
                BD11 2DY 
Decision (including any steps ordered) 
1. The complainant has requested a range of information relating to fire 
training provided by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.  The public 
authority provided some of the requested information, confirmed some 
information was not held and withheld some information under the 
exemption where disclosure would be likely to prejudice its commercial 
2. The Commissioner’s decision is that the public authority has correctly 
confirmed that information relating to gross profits derived from the 
provision of fire training is not held.  In relation to the list of customers 
in receipt of fire training, the Commissioner has decided that the public 
authority has incorrectly applied the commercial interests exemption.     
3. The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following 
steps to ensure compliance with the legislation. 
 Disclose the withheld information 
4. The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of 
the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the 
Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court 
pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt 
of court. 

We enclose the full judgement below, are you like us shocked that WYFRS do not keep accurate records ? 


Strangely enough it has just been pointed out by a member of the FCCL team that the link to the training page of WYFRS website in the document above  has a "broken link" 

But they seem to have set up a new page ......

Available here 

And what we can't understand - how do they not know their gross profit  when they have detailed price lists like this one for a Fire Marshall Renewal Course?  

Charge  (No VAT)
Per person - When you book a
minimum of 8 places on a course £45
Fixed price - When you book a course
of up to 10 places £400
Fixed price - When you book a course
of up to 15 places £450
For other individual bookings - each
person  £70
Training at Fire Service Headquarters, Birkenshaw, is all inclusive of parking and
a refreshment break.

And how come if they are so keen to cut services at the front line have they SLASHED their prices by up to  


Take a look at the documentation

HERE !!!!!!!!!