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Fire and Rescue Service

Volume 708: debated on Monday 2 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many firefighter posts in England are filled on a retained basis; and what proportion that is of the total number of firefighters. [HL1648]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fire stations in England are crewed on a retained basis (a) wholly, and (b) in part; and what proportion that is of the total. [HL1649]

The number and type of fire stations in England is set out below.

As at 31 March 2008 there were 774 wholly retained duty system fire stations in England, 54 per cent of all fire stations. Day-crew stations may be crewed by both wholetime and retained firefighters, while wholetime—other duty system and nucleus stations utilise both wholetime and retained firefighters.

Fire stations in England as at 31 March 2008

Type of fire station


Wholetime 2:2:4 shift




Wholetime—other duty system




Retained duty system




Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fire call-outs in England and what proportion of the total each year are by tenders and appliances that are crewed on a retained basis. [HL1650]

A total of 294,000 fires were attended, by fire and rescue services in England, in the year ending 31 March 2008.

Information on the crewing of tenders and appliances that attend fire incidents is not held centrally and can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the position of retained firefighters under the proposals being considered by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for amending the Working Time Directive; and what is their position on those proposals. [HL1651]

Implementation of the working time directive, by setting a 48-hour maximum to the working week, could seriously impact on firefighters working the retained duty system in view of the substantial numbers who work full time for a primary employer. The UK Government therefore place great importance on retaining their opt-out from the directive, a position that was acknowledged by the European Union Council of Ministers in June when it agreed in the common position that it should be retained, and will continue to defend it.

The amendments to the common position voted by the European Parliament on 17 December are the latest step in a complex negotiation; a process of conciliation between both parties, the presidency and the Commission is now under way. Officials from my department are in contact with a range of fire and rescue service stakeholders to ensure that the potential impact is understood; and working with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, which has the UK lead on the working time directive, to inform the ongoing debate and ensure MEPs and EU member states are briefed appropriately.