The new chairman of Cheshire Fire Authority has insisted the safety of local communities will continue to improve – despite the organisation facing some of the most significant challenges in its history.
Cllr Bob Rudd was elected as chairman on June 15 at the authority’s Annual General Meeting and said: “I am delighted and honoured to be leading the body which manages what is recognised as one of the leading fire and rescue services in the country.
“While we are facing massive national challenges to the funding and management of our organisation, we have clear plans in place to protect local people and continue the recent dramatic improvements we have seen to fire safety across the communities of Cheshire, Halton and Warrington.”
The meeting heard that in 2015-16, injuries from fires reduce from 51 to 46, accidental house fires fall from 401 to 394 and fires in business and commercial premises fall from 189 to 159 – the lowest figure ever recorded.
Cllr Rudd, who is also currently chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council, was first appointed to Cheshire Fire Authority in 2011. He has been involved in local government for over 40 years, beginning his political career in West Sussex before moving to Chester in 1990 and gaining election to Chester City Council a year later.
Following local government reorganisation in 2009, he was elected to Cheshire West and Chester Council and appointed Lord Mayor of Chester in 2014.
Cllr Rudd takes up the reins from former Warrington Borough Councillor John Joyce and he paid tribute to his “outstanding leadership.”
“Cllr Joyce was a founding Member of the Authority when it was first set up in 1998 and he has been instrumental in many innovative developments including the major focus on prevention and his unstinting support of diversity and inclusion. It is testament to his support that during his time as Chair, Cheshire gained the Excellent status under the Fire and Rescue Service Equality Framework and became the highest placed emergency service in the annual Stonewall Equality Index in 2016.”
At the AGM Cllr Stef Nelson from Halton Borough Council was re-elected as deputy chairman.
The fire authority is the public body which manages the fire and rescue service and is made up of 23 councillors from Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington Borough Councils. The current political make-up of the authority is Labour 14, Conservative 8 and Independent 1. Full details of the authority are on the website - http://www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/