Keith Tordoff MBE outside Harrogate Fire Station
Keith Tordoff MBE outside Harrogate Fire Station

Independent Mayoral candidate, Keith Tordoff operational changes for Fire Service will leave the people of North Yorkshire at Risk

15 February 2024

Keith Tordoff MBE has said that  Fire cover changes will leave the people of North Yorkshire and York at Risk.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has said that it is implementing a new Risk and Resource Model that will reduce the number of appliances in service, and the fire fighter resources available.

The independent Mayoral candidate for York and North Yorkshire says these are simply cuts, wrapped up in a sham of consultation, and it will leave the people of North Yorkshire at risk.


Keith Tordoff MBE said:

I have great concerns for the people of York and North Yorkshire that they are being put at risk by this new model.

We need to focus on if there are enough fire fighters and equipment available. From what I have seen so far, it looks like the plan has been put together to fit the available budget, and that is just wrong.

People need to be able to sleep at night knowing that the emergency services are there if they need them, I don’t believe I will sleep well knowing these changes are going in.

The Risk and Resource Model is a plan that will run until 2025, and had a consultation from 23 May to 14 August 2022, gaining 1300 responses from the public and organisations.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner conclusion from the survey is in the Decision Notice which can be read here:

The decision notice demonstrates limited visible inclusion of the comments from the public, and whole heartedly endorses all proposals.

Keith Tordoff MBE said:

As a Decision Notice, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner concludes support for all the changes proposed in the survey.

For the survey to be a credible survey it needed to be from a professional polling company, to avoid bias in the questions.

The reality is that what people wanted to comment on wasn’t really an option available on the form, so it predetermined the outcome greatly.

The review of the outcome of the 1300 responses lacks visibility, with just very broad statements made from the PFCC- that is simply not good enough, and doesn’t show the PFCC making herself visible and accountable for her actions.



The Risk and Resource Model defines what crews need to be available, and with what equipment. Across North Yorkshire there are a number of Fire Stations with some with fire fighters based there full-time, and others with Fire Fighters on-call, such as Summerbridge and Knaresborough. Typically if there was a large incident resources would be moved around the county, or put on standby. So that could mean that if Harrogate attended an incident, Knaresborough may be put on standby in Knaresborough or from the Harrogate station. This helps manage the response times to further incidents.

Spread throughout the county there are also specialist appliances, such as the Aerial Ladder Platforms, High Volume Pumps, along with specialist teams for water rescue and heavy vehicles.

Keith Tordoff said:

Picking up on specific areas, the decision was also to review the predetermined attendance of the Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP). Currently there are only 3 ALP’s across a county the size of North Yorkshire, that’s a single ALP in Harrogate, York and Scarborough. Recently the York ALP has been out of service, meaning the Harrogate ALP was going to York each day to provide coverage.

But the predetermined attendance defines what resources should be used depending on the type of incident – the predetermined attendance was an ALP for a 3 story or more building, which of course includes houses that have extended into an attic space.



Funding for the Fire Service comes from Government funding, and locally from a precept tax added to each household. For 2024/25 the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner has increased the precept to the maximum possible, without going to a referendum.

Around £11million comes from Government, and £25million raised locally from precept. Both have gone up by around 8% meaning an increase of £800K from the Government, but an increase of £1.8million

Cost savings are being made by staff loses, with plans to reduce the salary bill by £2million a year, with the loss of Huntingdon Station being a big portion of that figure.

See for details on the precept proposal

Keith Tordoff MBE said:

Funding for the Fire Service looks inadequate, with a greater and greater proportion of the funding coming from further taxes.

I think it is difficult to trust the process that has been undertaken here.

We of course have a Conservative Party Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, so there will also be a political agenda here too.

The whole issue of funding needs a root and branch review.

Of course we need the right cover for the county, an efficient fire service. But over time an increasing further tax is being placed on people.

If I become Mayor, then this very much looks like and area that would need attention. Those within the Fire Service are the experts operationally, but it would be the Mayor to ensure they are setup to deliver, and that the people of North Yorkshire are safe.


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