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Fire Services

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 21 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) original timetable was and (b) the latest timetable is for the (i) Firelink, (ii) FireBuy Integrated Clothing and (iii) FiREControl project. (311626)

The ministerial announcement of the Firelink project was made in May 2002 with completion scheduled December 2007. Subsequently the contract was awarded in March 2006 and roll-out to fire service vehicles commenced in November 2008, with completion revised to March 2010.

The original timetable of the Integrated Clothing Project was for FireBuy to let the contract by December 2006. The purchase only part of the contract was signed in November 2007 and the fully managed service option was signed in May 2008.

The original go-live timetable for the FiReControl project was to complete in December 2007 in line with the Firelink project. The current estimated go-live date is May 2011.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of the intervention protocol prepared by the Secretary of State under section 23 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004. (311800)

On 19 February 2003 Government and the Local Government Association signed a protocol: ‘Central Government Engagement and Intervention in Poorly Performing Authorities’. Pages 10 and 11 of the current Fire and Rescue Services National Framework says this protocol meets the requirement of section 23 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004. I have arranged for a copy of the 2003 protocol to be placed in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the effects on the number of fire (a) stations and (b) appliances at each location of the repeal of section 19 (4) of the Fire Services Act 1947, requiring a fire authority to obtain the prior consent of the Secretary of State for the closure of a fire station and reductions in the number of fire appliances. (312036)

The repeal of Section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947 was an essential element of the move to integrated risk management planning (IRMP), under which local fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) and local communities are able to make appropriate decisions at the local level.

The numbers of fire (a) stations and (b) appliances are provided to the Department in annual data returns by Fire and Rescue Services in England. Figures since 2003-04 are collected and are shown in the following table.

No assessment has been made by this Department of the direct effects on the number of fire stations and fire appliances of the repeal of section 19(4) of the 1947 Act, although the Audit Commission takes account of individual FRAs' IRMP—under which decisions on the number and location of stations and appliances are made—in drawing up annual assessments as part of the comprehensive area assessment.

Numbers of fire stations and fire appliances, England

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Number of fire stations1

1,443

1,442

1,444

1,437

1,439

1,435

Total appliances

3,279

3,274

3,308

3,358

3,475

3,325

Pumps

2,120

2,110

2,091

2,086

2,075

2,062

Front-line fleet

Other appliances2

776

769

825

812

859

823

Pumps

333

351

356

404

475

387

Reserve fleet

Other appliances2

50

44

36

56

66

53

1. Whole time and retained.

2 Includes aerials and special appliances.

Source:

Annual Returns to Communities and Local Government