An emergency vehicle in Derbyshire capable of dealing with a terrorist attack is set to be axed in a matter of days, according to a leaked document.
The incident response unit (IRU) in Alfreton is one of 22 which will be withdrawn on December 31.
IRUs provide decontamination facilities at incidents where a large number of people may have been exposed to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials, such as in potential terror attacks.
The leaked document, a national resilience information note issued by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOS), said the reduction was the result of a review conducted with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
It found 43 were sufficient “in order to meet the scale of event identified within the national resilience planning assumptions”.
The 22 deemed surplus to requirements need to be taken out of service “almost immediately”, it explained, because their power respirator protective suits are about to pass their expiry dates.
The CFOA said it was in discussions with DCLG to identify a disposal strategy.
Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said: “It cannot possibly be the right time to cut, by a third, our ability to respond to serious terrorist incidents.
“Not only is it the wrong time but it is even worse that these plans are being hatched in secret, without any public information or consultation.
“Ministers must put these plans on hold immediately and make a statement to Parliament as soon as it returns.
“It is disgraceful that we’re days away from this happening without any debate.”
A Government spokesman said: “Public safety is our number one priority.
“Research and experience shows that speed is of the essence in dealing with major incidents, which is why it is better to issue all front-line responders with the training to begin decontamination rather than wait for specialist services to arrive.”