Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 09:39 UK

Fuel cost rise hits air ambulance

County Air Ambulance
The air ambulance is not funded by the government

Rising fuel prices could cost an air ambulance service an extra 130,000 a year, its staff estimate.

The County Air Ambulance, which operates across much of the West Midlands, is a charity which needs 5.6m to operate three helicopters.

Spokesman Steve Parry said when a fixed price fuel deal finishes in October, its hourly fuel costs will rise from 104 to 170.

The charity is not funded by the government or National Lottery.

The air ambulance's fuel supplier gives the fuel at a reduced rate.

Financial pressure

The supplier has warned staff that the prices will go up from October.

Mr Parry said: "We anticipated an increase in our operational budget at the beginning or the year and adjusted our fundraising target accordingly.

"However, there is no doubt that rising fuel costs of this magnitude will place additional financial pressure on the charity at a time when we are committed to making improvements to our service."

The air ambulance serves Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands.

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