CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has welcomed news that the numbers of deliberate fires being started in North Wales has fallen over the last three years.
Statistics released by the Welsh Government show that there were 1,378 deliberate fires started in the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service Region in 2011/12, a fall from 1,539 three years ago.
However the AM said arson attacks in his constituency over the last few years meant there was still work to do to tackle deliberate fire hotspots.
In the last year, 43% of all fires in North Wales were started deliberately.
Paying tribute to the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES, said:
“It’s pleasing to see that the numbers of deliberate fires started across North Wales is declining. A large number of deliberate fires involve cars and there has been a big effort in recent years to remove abandoned vehicles from the road quicker as well as the fall in overall car crime meaning less arson incidents.
“However there are still hotspots of trouble. The statistics show that in North Wales 43% of all fires are still begun deliberately and I have had to deal with a number of serious arson incidents in areas like Coedpoeth and Rhos over the last few years.
“Deliberate fires are a serious form of anti-social behaviour and should not be tolerated. We need to crack down on this sort of crime more effectively because individuals, including our emergency service personnel, can be seriously injured or killed by fires started deliberately.
“We have also had a particular problem locally in upland areas of Clwydian Range AONB, of fires started deliberately. We clearly need to do more to provide a consistent message on grass and forest fires and deliver clearer messages on the responsible use of fire.
“The men and women of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service do a fantastic job, putting their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and I want to thank them for all the lifesaving work they do. They are a big part of the reason why we are seeing a fall in the numbers of deliberate fires.”