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Dorset Fire Authority agrees to merger

A firefighter from Dorset Fire & Rescue Service in action Credit: ITV News

Members of Dorset fire authority have voted in favour of a merger with Wiltshire's fire authority.

The plan will have to be agreed by the government before it could go ahead but could save Dorset £6 million a year. Wiltshire will meet to make its decision next week.

They've had strong support from the public with information from questionnaires sent to libraries, fire stations and other public buildings -together with an on-line questionnaire showing most people preferred a merger over other cost-saving measures.

I am very pleased that Fire Authority members have agreed to a potential combination with Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Authority. The potential budget deficit faced by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service in 2017/18 ranges between £2.3M and £3.2M.

The potential combination with Wiltshire Fire and Rescue means savings of between £4M and £6M. I am passionate about protecting front-line services and providing the best fire and rescue service possible for Dorset.

– Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter, Dorset Fire & Rescue Service

£5.5 million set aside for fire merger

Wiltshire and Dorset Fire & Rescue Services could merge Credit: ITV News

£5.5 million has been set aside by the Government to support a potential merger between Wiltshire and Dorset Fire & Rescue Services.

The bid was made by Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service on behalf of the two organisations and is one of 37 projects nationally to win financial support.

Public consultations will now take place in both counties to decide whether to combine their forces.