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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 17:28 GMT
Fire control 'mergers' abandoned
Control room
The report had suggested further centralising fire control
Proposals to reduce the number of fire brigade control rooms in Scotland from eight to three have been abandoned.

The Scottish Government said the response to the Glasgow terror attack demonstrated the strengths of local control rooms, which must be retained.

The Fire Brigades Union warmly welcomed the news and said it guaranteed more than 200 staff jobs.

The move follows years of speculation and a report prepared for the previous government which recommended mergers.

However, a consultation on minimum standards is planned for early next year and local fire brigades - along with relevant councils - will decide how to introduce any changes.

'Common sense'

Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The recent shocking events at Glasgow Airport provided a stark reminder of the need for fire and rescue services that have the capability to respond to the unimaginable worst case scenario as well as the day-to-day challenges.

"That's why we are investing over 50m in the next three years to equip our fire and rescue services with a state of the art digital incident communications system."

The report for the previous Labour/Lib Dem administration in 2004 argued that reducing the number of centres would improve service delivery and provide better value for money.

Suggestions had been put forward, including creating a single operation based at Newbridge in Edinburgh, to replace control rooms in Edinburgh, Fife and Falkirk.

Firefighters were critical of the report, arguing that valuable local knowledge would be lost if the number of control rooms was reduced.

Chief fire officer David Dalziel, of Grampian Fire and Rescue Service, said he was delighted that there was now some "clarity" on the future of fire control rooms.

Ken Ross, Scottish regional secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, described the decision as a "victory for common sense and public safety".

SEE ALSO
Call to cut fire control rooms
08 Jul 04 |  Scotland
Fire plans 'recipe for disaster'
08 May 03 |  Scotland
Ambulance calls graded
01 Aug 02 |  Scotland

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