FIREFIGHTERS walked out of an Isle of Wight Council cabinet meeting tonight (Thursday) after members approved controversial plans to reshape the Island’s fire service.

The cabinet unanimously approved changes to the service that will see a revamp to the shift system following a 15-minute discussion.

The cabinet member responsible for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Cllr Tig Outlaw, said the changes will match demand to the number of firefighters available.

A number of questions were raised by the cabinet, including whether or not the situation fell within the cabinet’s responsibility.

Cabinet leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, said: “For openess and transparency we decided to bring this matter before cabinet as a whole.”

More than 20 fire service personnel attended the meeting, with many shaking their heads during the discussion. When the decision to approve the changes was announced, they all walked out.

Speaking after the meeting, several firefighters said they feared for their colleagues on temporary contracts who may now lose their jobs.

Under the changes, the number of whole time firefighters could be reduced from 58 to 50, although the council insists there will be no redundancies.

Scrutiny chairman, Cllr Andrew Garratt, said he was disappointed with the minimal debate. On Tuesday, the scrutiny committee discussed the issue for almost two hours.

Speaking after the meeting, Brigade Secretary for the Isle of Wight FBU Spence Cave said: “Councillors who voted against it last time and said there was not enough detail are quite happy to put it through this time.”

However, Cllr Outlaw and Howard Watts, chief fire officer, denied Mr Cave’s claims that the plans put lives at risk.

The fire service review was previously rejected by the Isle of Wight Council in April.

What does the fire service review mean for Islanders? Watch below to find out more.