More than 40,000 people have signed a petition opposing plans to shake up Derbyshire’s fire service.
The cost-cutting plans would see 78 full-time firefighters lose their jobs and the closure of 19 stations across the county – including in towns like Dronfield and Matlock.
The petition, which was launched in October, was handed to Roland Hosker, chairman of Derbyshire Fire Authority, at the end of a consultation on the proposals just before Christmas.
Chris Tapps, from the Derbyshire branch of the Fire Brigades’ Union, said it was an “excellent” petition and thanked everyone who signed it.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had to cope with a 40 per cent cut to its budget.
Under the plans, Alfreton station would close with a new base opening in Ripley.
A spokesman for Alfreton Town Council said: “The new station at Ripley would mean increased response times to areas of Alfreton.
“In addition, it would result in an increased risk to the public and to firefighters facing bigger and more dangerous fires.”
The proposals will now be considered.