BRIDGWATER and West Somerset's MP has responded to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service's decision to drop a controversial plan to close Porlock Fire Station.

The closure was announced in a detailed report last year and met angry responses from residents, firefighters and the local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger.

He spoke at a rally to defend the station and marched with 1,000 supporters to highlight the need for maintaining Porlock and its team.

Then came a public consultation from the Fire and Rescue Service in which many more people submitted their views.

Overall 95 per cent of respondents opposed the plan.

“The outcry was overwhelming,” said Mr Liddell-Grainger.

“I am very pleased the Fire and Rescue Service has scrapped what was always a stupid idea.

"But I find it incredible that such a scheme ever got this far.

“Any intelligent assessment of the geography of West Somerset and the time it takes to get emergency vehicles to locations should have told them that shutting Porlock would have been crazy and potentially negligent.

“I pay tribute to those who organised the effective local campaign to fight the closure proposals.

"They worked incredibly hard to try and drum sense into the Service’s decision makers.”

“I understand the fact that one fire engine is to be withdrawn from Bridgwater and also from Taunton.

"It is not an ideal situation. But closing Porlock would have been inviting tragedy.”