MADAM, The seconds taken to respond to fires and road traffic accidents really do count and as lives are at stake I feel that the removal of fire engines at Ross or Whitchurch would be a tragedy. Neither fire station should be shut as resilience of the service would be badly affected.

Since we live with the A40/M50 on our doorstep Whitchurch is surely best placed to deal with the number of road traffic accidents. If Whitchurch Station is closed it would never re-open, the land would be sold for development and lost forever – whereas if one fire engine is lost from Ross it could be replaced because one engine would still be there and the station would not be closing. The impact of losing the pump/fire engine from Whitchurch will be much greater as we would lose all cover locally.

The A40 from Ross to Monmouth has no hard shoulder and once something happens at Dixton, or elsewhere, traffic builds up and there is no way of getting around the route. So having Whitchurch Fire Station where it is makes a huge difference in the timing to get to accidents. It is the first engine that makes the difference and Whitchurch is crucial and best placed to cover a wide area and reach it quickly. Cover in our district is sparse at the moment, without Whitchurch it will take much longer for crews from Ross, Ledbury or Fownhope to get to our area – the resilience of the service is at stake. Flooding is also a major issue locally – a fire can affect one or two houses perhaps but flooding can affect many houses and businesses in one fell swoop. If we lose Whitchurch we won't have the resources to cope as we did with the last local floods.

There are a lot of businesses locally, care homes, industrial estates and others who employ people and they will feel the impact if the fire station goes. Retained firemen work locally and local businesses let them leave to attend the incidents so we need to keep the station open and locally manned and local businesses happy so that we don't lose them as well. We await with interest the results of the consultation.M J Rowberry, Goodrich Parish Councillor