Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Service backs Dorset merger
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12 November 2014
Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Authority has voted unanimously in favour of a merger with Dorset's fire authority.
A full merger would create a new combined fire authority which is seen by officials as the best way to secure the future of the service.
Plans to merge Dorset Fire and Rescue Service with Wiltshire and Swindon were agreed unanimously by Dorset Fire Authority at a meeting last week, following an extensive public consultation.
The plan would have to be agreed by government before a single combined service could be created.
The authorities believe a merger will help combat the reduction in central government funding.
Officials have said by 2017 it was expected the Wiltshire service would be facing a £4.2m deficit, and Dorset £3.7m.
If approved locally and nationally, a single authority with a combined budget of around £55m will be established from April 2016.
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service's Simon Routh-Jones said: "I am determined that local people will continue to have an outstanding fire and rescue service, and combination with Dorset gives us that certainty."
Other options considered involved closer collaboration with local authorities and each other.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.