FIRE specialists have "reassured" campaigners that Canvey will be able to survive a major explosion if controversial cuts go ahead.

Castle Point councillors met with represents from Essex Service to discuss fears about the impact proposed £6.4million cutbacks could have on the island.

Proposals to cut 138 full time firefighters across the county and scrap a second fire engine from Rayleigh Weir station have been branded a "big gamble."

Islanders fears Canvey, which is home to two hazardous sites- Oikos and Calor Gas- will be in greater danger as Rayleigh Weir currently provides backup support.

Canvey's firefighters are retained.

Fire chiefs have insisted the service's response to any major incident would remain unaffected once the overhaul come into effect.

Peter Greig, who has worked in fire safety for more than 25 years, says he is pleased with how the discussions went.

Mr Greig, Canvey Independent Councillor for Winter Gardens, believes that the island is well prepared in the event of a large fire.

He said: “It was very positive and I think it has certainly allayed some of the fears we had about the cuts.

“We’ve been told if there are any major incident and things need to come on to Canvey, then major roads such as the A130, A12, A127 would be shut off. It’s very reassuring to know these things are in place, and that any issue with the hazardous sites can be dealt with well.

Norman Ladzrie, Tory Councillor for St James’, also attended the meeting.

He saiid he is pushing for the borough council to hold a meeting with fire chiefs in public to ease residents concerns.

He said: “It would certainly be worthwhile this discussion opened up to the public.

“I would say to people who are concerned is that we can have faith that the fire service will be well equipped, and has some of the most modern techniques available to deal with fires both on the mainland and on Canvey."

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party and councillor for the island's Central ward, added: “I think it was very reassuring and it was very important we got our points across, and I felt they were answered.

“What is clear is that the Oikos site has one of the most up to date systems in the country and the fact a fire there pretty much be solved by the touch of a button, which will see foam is sprayed on the fire on site."

For more information on the fire cuts, visit