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17 Oct 2007 : Column WS53

17 Oct 2007 : Column WS53

Written Statements

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Fire and Rescue Service: FiReControl

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My honourable friend the Minister for Local Government, John Healey, has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I can today confirm that the new London Fire Brigade Regional Control Centre will be located at Morden, in the London Borough of Merton. This new control centre will provide a modern, effective control and mobilisation system that will help to protect the public in London, support the London Fire Brigade to save lives and form part of the resilient FiReControl network across England.

Working in close partnership with the Fire and Rescue Service, the FiReControl project is a key part of Communities and Local Government's investment in the Fire Resilience Programme. To be in a position to make this announcement of the location of the London Regional Control Centre is testament to the close partnership working with both LFEPA and the London Fire Brigade in delivering this project.

FiReControl will deliver a resilient network of nine regional control centres (RCCs) which unlike now will be able to back each other up automatically—including during particularly busy times—and to mobilise Fire and Rescue Service resources across England, including new dimension equipment.

These purpose-built regional control centres will be supported by best available technology, including:

caller location technology to identify the whereabouts of the caller, whether from a landline or mobile phone; vehicle location equipment to determine which appropriate fire appliance(s) can reach an incident first;data transmission to mobilise the nearest appropriate appliance quickly, without relying on voice messages;in-cab mobile data terminals providing firefighters with key information—for example, the location of the nearest hydrants and water supplies; floor

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plans and access details for buildings, where appropriate; and relevant standard operating procedures for the type of incident concerned—for example, how to dismantle a particular type of car or deal with a particular chemical; and satellite navigation technology providing the quickest route to the incident, taking into account the latest information available on traffic conditions and road closures.

We have worked closely with key partners in London to ensure that the best location and developer have been chosen to provide the RCC building, meeting our stretching resilience criteria. Following the EU procurement process, the new London RCC will be developed by a joint venture between Morley Fund Management and Easter Group.

The other eight regional control centres are already under development, and three have already reached practical completion. The national network is becoming operational in three phases and will be fully operational by the end of 2011.

NHS: Finances

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson, has made the following Written Statement.

My department has today published the audited figures for the NHS for the financial year 2006-07. These show that the NHS recorded a net surplus in 2006-07 of £514.6 million.

My department’s report on NHS finance and performance at quarter one of 2007-08 indicated that the NHS is on course to deliver a very healthy surplus at the end of the current financial year. This forecast surplus gives flexibility for the NHS at local level to continue to deliver the changes needed to ensure that patients see improvements in both access to, and the quality of, care.

Audited figures, by organisation for each strategic health authority, have been placed in the Library, and will be published today on the department’s website at Copies are available to honourable Members from the Vote Office.

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