Increase in Hazardous Activity and reduction in Emergency Fire Cover for Canvey Island!

Just like an Insurance Policy, you want Fire and Rescue cover, but hope that you Never, Ever have to Call upon it!

That appears the reasoning behind the next lot of cuts to the, already depleted, Castle Point cover of the Essex Fire and Rescue Service.

With three major road arteries in the Borough and two Top Tier COMAH sites on Canvey Island, it appears residents only have our local councillors word that we can sleep safely of a night.

 Just over 6 years ago a major gas leak occurred from Calor at Canvey Island, which only by good fortune, did not find a source of ignition!

The 163-tonne leak happened while a ship was unloading gas to the site.

Now we learn of an increase in the current levels of Hazardous Activity to be carried out at the nearby OIKOS site.

Currently there are plans lodged by OIKOS, at their liquid bulk import and storage facility on Canvey Island, with Castle Point Council for a new deep water jetty.

The jetty will allow fully laden tankers of up to 16.2m draught to berth at the jetty (subject to tidal restrictions) to remain alongside for a period of 24 hours while discharging cargo.

Vessels up to and including a 120,000 DWT tanker, approximately 277metres in length overall with a beam of 44.7m may then be able to use the facility.

Our local councillors report their being satisfied with the level of cover left after this latest Fire Service cut. However Canvey Town Councillors have objected to the OIKOS planning proposal giving one reason for objection as Fear of Terrorism! Surely a contradiction.

A different view to that which was being given out not so long ago in 2011, when we were being invited to join the failed fight to retain the Full Time Canvey staff, before they were replaced by part time cover.

PARTY allegiances have been thrown aside as politicians of all colours rally to protect Canvey’s under-threat firefighters.

Castle Point’s Tory MP Rebecca Harris has criticised cost-saving proposals to replace full-time cover at the island’s Long Road fire station with a retained crew.

Meanwhile, Canvey Island Independent Party has launched a petition opposing the proposals.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service plans to replace the station’s 25 firefighters with a part-time crew as part of a £10million cost-cutting programme across the county.

At that time MP Rebecca Harris said: “I am very unhappy about any proposal to downgrade the service on Canvey.

“We are going to fight hard to make sure we keep a full-time service on the island.

“When you think of the sensitivity on Canvey about it being an island with difficult access, then it’s clear what the concerns of the residents are.”

Whilst the Canvey Island Independent Party is hoping residents will get behind the petition, which will be distributed to Canvey shops and garages for people to sign.

Dave Blackwell, the party’s leader, worries retained firefighters would be unable to cope on Canvey.

As a reminder, we will make no apology for once again including the video of how a resident was left affected by the Buncefield incident, and pray that we never witness the like on Canvey Island, because for certain the Rescue response may well be less efficient.

We must hope and trust, should the worst happen, the incident will be within the response capabilities of the rescue service that is retained.

Grateful thanks go to Ian Silverstein for use of his video.


The Echo report on the 2011 Cuts and 20+ comments can be read HERE.

The report on the Calor Gas escape by solicitors Irwin Mitchell can be viewed HERE.


2 responses to “Increase in Hazardous Activity and reduction in Emergency Fire Cover for Canvey Island!

  1. Steve Sawkins

    We were privileged to be able to view the Web-Cast of the Essex Fire and Rescue Fire Authority painfully forcing through a cost cutting exercise via the plan that would result in the eventual loss of fire appliances and a further reduction of 138 whole time fire fighters.
    We have seen in the recent past the establishment of front line fire fighters in Essex reduced from 1000 to 500.

    There were challenges from a number of Councillors from all over the County to the process being undertaken.

    There was a particular rebuttal to the statistic that domestic fire had fallen.

    There were concerns that Thurrock needed its fire cover because of COMAH sites High Population and High Rise dwellings.

    There were concerns that appliance delays to attend incidents in remote parts of the County.

    There were concerns regarding the loss of experienced fire fighter and the high turnover of retained fire fighters having gone through an expensive training programme.

    Incomprehensively CIIP Leader Cllr Dave Blackwell, newly appointed on to the Fire Authority, stated that having consulted the Fire Brigade even with the loss of one of Rayleigh’s two pumps, the fire cover for Canvey Island remained, adequate.
    I look forward to an explanation.

  2. I’m assuming that the Canvey retained firefighters will experience a higher call out in response to Rayleigh losing a pump having to cover the shortfall, surely then this would mean less cover for Canvey while they tackle incidents off the Island. I would ask Dave Blackwell if, taking the above into consideration, he feels Canvey will have suitable emergency cover. An example was very recent when the Canvey crew were called out to man the hose layer for a chemical incident at Tilbury because Rayleigh were attending other incidents, Basildon were out also tending a car fire. Basically all available local pumps were on emergency calls now lose one for Rayleigh and this would have meant a shortfall in cover, thankfully there were no other incidents during this time as it surely would have put lives at risk.

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