SEAFORD: MP backs decision to scrap fire control mergers

PLANS to merge fire control rooms in England have been scrapped, much to the relief of Seaford MP Norman Baker.

The FireControl project, which was started under the previous government, aimed to merge the 46 control rooms in England, which handle calls from the local public for emergency calls via the 999 system, into nine regional offices.

A number of concerns were raised and the Fire Brigade Union was worried about the effect the changes would have on the number of staff available to answer emergency calls.

The Union was also worried about the potentially very dangerous situation of having no-one to answer calls in an emergency.

Mr Baker was contacted by several local firefighters about the plan and asked for his support for it to be scrapped.

In a letter to the MP, and in a Ministerial Statement by the Fire Minister, Bob Neill MP, said that confirmation has been provided that the coalition government has indeed scrapped the project.

Mr Baker said, “Labour’s idea to savagely cut the number of available staff to answer emergency calls was ill-thought-out and, to be quite frank, dangerous.

“I am therefore very pleased, and indeed somewhat relieved, that the Lib Dem and Conservative Ministers have worked together to scrap this dangerous project that was irresponsibly thought up by the previous government.

“I also welcome the victory that this represents for the firefighters and emergency call operators who have lobbied hard to have this project scrapped.”