I AM writing in response to the letter from Evelyn Campbell-Smith (Mailbox, March 12).

Unfortunately the letter misses the point. Neither I, nor Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority, wish to close the fire stations at Upton and West Kirby.

The simple fact is, that due to the cuts in Government grant to the authority, it will no longer be possible to keep all 26 fire stations in Merseyside open.

Stations will have to shut in all districts of Merseyside. In Wirral, the six fire stations will be reduced to five by the closure of Upton and West Kirby and the building of a new station in the Greasby area.

I have always stressed that the station merger proposal is the least worst option open to the authority.

I have never said that this will lead to an improvement in the service provided.

It will not.

However, it is simply not possible to continue to provide the current level of service with the budget reductions that have been imposed upon the authority.

While West Kirby fire station is appropriately sited to serve the people of that area, the ten-minute response isochrone (circle) covers as much of the River Dee and Irish Sea as it does the mainland.

A new station in Greasby would be better placed to cover a larger area of the Wirral although it is self-evident that it will not be possible to provide the same attendance times to West Kirby as the current station does.

Unfortunately, there is no better option open to the authority.

Dan Stephens, Chief Fire Officer, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service