Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 14:35 UK

Fuel costs rise for 999 services

Rising fuel costs mean the emergency services in Lincolnshire are having to rethink how their budgets are spent.

Over the past year, Lincolnshire Police has paid 1.2m for fuel, a 56% increase on the previous 12 months.

The fuel bill for the county's fire and rescue service has increased by 41% in the past year to 205,000.

East Midlands Ambulance service has also been affected, with a 3.8m fuel bill this year, expected to rise to more than 4.1m for next year.

Anything the government can do to reduce this burden would aid the council tax payers
Mike Thomas, Lincolnshire's Chief Fire Officer

Spokesman for Lincolnshire Police, Dick Holmes, said the force was always thinking of how to tackle the problem of rising fuel costs.

"We've trialled LPG vehicles but, as things stand, the infrastructure just isn't in place in terms of refuelling," he said.

"We have to consider that if you have to travel 15 or 20 miles to refuel, that's an awful waste of fuel in itself.

"We rely on the common sense of our employees...not making unnecessary journeys, planning well you can see our costs are rising like everyone else's."

Lincolnshire's Chief Fire Officer, Mike Thomas, said it was difficult trying to re-budget.

'Services maintained'

"It's very difficult as there are only a limited number of options open to us," he said.

"But one thing we won't do is reduce the service for the community, that's paramount to us."

Mr Thomas also called on the government to consider a fuel tax break for the emergency services.

"Anything the government can do to reduce this burden would aid the council tax payers," he said.

In a statement, East Midlands Ambulance Service said every time a penny was added to a litre of petrol their costs increased by 36,000, the annual salary of a paramedic.

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