Berkshire

Berkshire and Oxfordshire fire control funds secured

Berkshire and Oxfordshire's fire services have been granted £3.6m in funding to create a single joint control facility.

The two fire and rescue services submitted a joint bid for the government money in November 2011.

The location and staffing of the centre has not been decided and must first be approved by Berkshire's fire authority and Oxfordshire county council.

If approved, the new centre is expected to be in operation by spring 2014.

'Improved service'

Berkshire's chief fire officer Iain Cox said: "Individual control rooms are becoming increasingly unviable due to falling incident numbers and the consequential increase in cost per call handled.

"By sharing a control function with Oxfordshire, we will be able to provide a more resilient, cost-effective and improved service to our firefighters and the public we serve."

Fire control centres around England had been expecting to merge into nine regional centres as part of the National Fire Control Project but the plan was scrapped in 2010.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue said the plan meant it had not kept up with medium and long-term developments, prompting it to explore joint working with another service.

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