This in from the council. Although the decision to revamp the Isle of Wight Fire service has been delayed for a month, this separate issue will go out to public consultation. Ed
The Isle of Wight’s senior fire officer is urging residents to have their say over plans to combine the Island’s fire service with neighbouring counterparts.
Full Council will consider a proposal to create a combined fire authority, which would cover Southampton, Portsmouth, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, on 21 March.
12-week public consultations
Any final decision would be based on a detailed business case and the outcome of two 12-week public consultations, one on the Island and the other in Hampshire.
The Island’s senior fire officer, Howard Watts, said:
“The Isle of Wight has a really strong, well equipped fire service that’s much loved by Islanders.
“I believe this can make it even better and it’s right everyone looks closely at the proposal.
“We’re really keen for residents to engage in the consultation process, to help influence the future of our service.”
Benefits to the Island
The council agreed to a project to explore creating a combined fire authority in February 2017.
Increasing resilience and capacity operationally, helping to make communities safer, have been identified by specialist officers as potential benefits to the Island.
Other advantages include aligning safety campaigns and giving more consistent safety messages to the public.
Members from all councils
The new combined authority would be made up of members from all relevant councils, who would make decisions on fire related matters.
It would build on the successful strategic partnership between the Isle of Wight Council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, which was set up in 2015.
As part of the plans, the proportion of general council tax given to the fire service would be replaced by a separate precept, similar to the police.
A three-year capital investment of £940,000 towards fleet replacement and new equipment for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, as agreed in the 2018/19 budget, will not be affected by the plans, while the operational improvements proposed in the recent review of the fire service are not linked to this proposal.