THE Isle of Wight Council's cabinet is being urged to reject a controversial review into the fire and rescue service, because of concerns for public safety.

The review was deferred during a council meeting last month after safety concerns were raised.

The council's scrutiny committee felt that the safety concerns had not been resolved and voted during a meeting last night (Thursday) to recommend that the cabinet rejects the review.

The plans include cutting the number of whole time firefighters, leaving a minimum of four firefighters per engine.

Speaking during the meeting, members of the Fire Brigades Union said that four firefighters per crew was not enough as it meant losing the role of entry control officer, who monitors firefighters' status and oxygen levels when they enter a burning building, making firefighting with just one crew unsafe.

A senior manager of the fire service said that this was a difference of opinion on what is considered safe.

A spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union said: "This document is very similar to the last. It still means a cut in fire service personnel.

"We still believe it is unsafe for the community on the Isle of Wight, unsafe for firefighters and unfair on the tax payer.

"This is all about making cuts."

The council claims the review is aimed at improving resilience, not cutting costs.

Addressing Cllr Gary Peace, the cabinet member for community safety and public protection, Cllr Andrew Garratt said: "Whilst the review may allow for fewer firefighters, it does not compel us to remove these posts."

Cllr Geoff Brodie said: "I am quite disappointed. There seems to be a poor relationship between the fire service senior management and the Fire Brigades Union."

The Isle of Wight Council cabinet will make a decision on the controversial review on Monday.