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7 Feb 2005 : Column 1282W—continued

Council Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average band D council tax has been in each county council area in each year since 1997–98. [211973]

Mr. Raynsford: The information requested is in the table.
Area average band D council tax

East Sussex6917488048689451,0071,2071,279
North Yorkshire6266927547988639651,1271,203
West Sussex6527137598028529391,1121,179

(16)Including the Isles of Scilly

Fire Service

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who is consulted on proposals for changing practices at fire stations in Lancashire. [214816]

Mr. Raynsford: Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) have advised that the following groups were consulted:

Summary draft Year 2 Action Plan leaflets were distributed as follows:

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It is also understood from LFRS that 1,014 copies of the draft Year 2 Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) Action Plan were distributed, 4,790 information leaflets were distributed to public libraries, town halls and information centres etc. throughout Lancashire. In addition, the Combined Fire Authority website had been utilised for consultation purposes; presentations had been given to LFRS Area Commanders and Departmental Heads who in turn had disseminated the information to staff; copies of the Plan had been sent to 15 Members of Parliament, the nine NW Members of the European Parliament, all district council leaders and chief executive officers and Lancashire county council; the draft Year 2 IRMP Action Plan was considered at Crime and Disorder Partnership and Local Strategic Partnership meetings and letters outlining the purpose and reason behind IRMP and copies of the draft Year 2 Action Plan were also sent to 24 Fire Certificate holders, six victims of fire, 163 parish councils, 26 NHS Trusts and numerous other consultees.

Opinion Research Services (ORS) were commissioned to carry out a public consultation programme with Lancashire residents. In addition, two additional Scrutiny Panels were organised by LFRS. These involved minority groups and a panel made up of Prince's Trust Team Members.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Department's policy is on fire prevention. [213650]

Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister aims to prevent fire through regulation to ensure that places of work, and new and substantially altered buildings, are made as safe as possible in relation to the assessed risks of fire; through national and local campaigns to raise awareness of the risks of fire and to encourage fire safe behaviour; and through a modernised Fire and Rescue Service with fire prevention at the centre of its work.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister provides additional funding to Fire and Rescue Authorities for work on fire prevention through the Community Fire Safety Innovation Fund, the Arson Control Forum Implementation Fund and as part of the new Home Fire Risk Check Initiative.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what decision the South West Regional Management Board took at its recent meeting with regard to the outline business concern on south west regional control centres for the fire service. [214011]

Mr. Raynsford: The South West Regional Management Board (RMB) was asked to comment on the principles and arguments underlying the outline business case for the FiReControl project. Until the procurement processes are complete the figures in the business case are indicative only and cannot be used as the basis for any decisions. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will be carefully considering the comments of all the RMBs, including that in the south
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west, in order to ensure the robustness of the business case as it develops, and will issue a response in due course.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister howmany times the Fire Service has been called out on false calls in (a) the North West, (b) Lancashire and (c) Chorley in each of the last five years. [214396]

Mr. Raynsford: The information requested for Lancashire and the North West is tabled 2003 is the most recent year for which information is available.
False alarms attended by Fire & Rescue Services

North West(17)58,16156,29357,36154,36656,566

(17)The 'North West' refers to the area covered by the following Fire & Rescue Services: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.
(18)Data include estimates for false alarms not recorded during periods of national industrial action in 2002 & 2003. Data for 2003 are provisional.

No information is available centrally on fires and false alarms in Chorley. Information from the Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service website (www.lancsfire.govuk/IRMP/Districts/Chorley%20District%20Profile.pdf) indicates there were 501 falsealarms attended in 2000–01 in Chorley; 532 in 2001–02; and 534 in 2002–03.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for the future of the fire service control room in Eastbourne. [214453]

Mr. Raynsford: Fire and Rescue control room services for East Sussex will be operated through the South East Regional Control Centre after it becomes operational, expected at the end of 2007. The order of transfer of fire and rescue services in the South East Region to the regional control centre, and hence the exact timing of the transfer for East Sussex, will depend on the location of the South East Regional Control Centre, which is not yet known. Location announcements are expected in Spring 2005. The use to which the accommodation for the existing control room is put after transfer will be a matter for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the implications for tackling domestic fires if regional control centres are established; and if he will make a statement. [214505]

Mr. Raynsford: The technology to be used in the regional control centres for the Fire and Rescue Service will automatically locate callers from the telephone network, detect the appliance with the appropriate skills and equipment which can be most quickly mobilised to the incident and direct it along the most effective route to the incident. This will help the fire and rescue service to reach all incidents, including domestic fires, quicker and so save more lives.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many fires there have been in Romford in the last five years. [213649]

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Mr. Raynsford: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Fire statistics are compiled by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for each Fire and Rescue Authority. In this case, Romford's fires are reported as part of the London total.

The London Safety Plan 1 (figures prepared by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority) lists the number of fires in the London borough of Havering on an annual average based on a five-year period (1999–00 to 2003–04) as 1,585.

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