Great Western Air Ambulance services 'under threat'

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The services of the Great Western Air Ambulance could be under threat if fuel prices continue to rise, says the chief executive of the trust that runs it.

The Filton-based helicopter covers Bristol, Wiltshire, North Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The service says it now costs £22 more per hour to fly the aircraft than it did at this time last year.

Paul Weir said he was worried donations might not be enough for it to fly to emergencies.

It costs more than £1m a year to keep the aircraft flying.

'Breaking even'

It currently costs £312 to fill the helicopter with aviation fuel and while operating, it uses 205 litres of fuel per hour.

Mr Weir, chief executive of the Great Western Air Ambulance, said the service was just breaking even at the moment, but that could change if the price of fuel continues to rise.

"Every single penny that we need to raise comes from the general public," he said.

"Without the public we simply wouldn't have an air ambulance.

"I suppose when we go into a petrol station and moan about the cost of petrol and diesel I don't think many of us think the same thing applies to air ambulances.

"At the end of the day, without the fuel we can't fly."

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