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Solihull residents will now be charged for non emergency call outs.

SOLIHULL’S MP Lorely Burt has raised concerns at the fire service’s decision to charge over £400 for non-emergency call-outs.

SOLIHULL’S MP Lorely Burt has raised concerns at the fire service’s decision to charge over £400 for non-emergency call-outs.

Cash-strapped West Midlands Fire Service has warned residents there will be charges introduced for dealing with incidents like pets that have got stuck up trees.

Silhillians who lock themselves out, need debris removing or floodwater pumped out, will also be hit in the pocket.

Mrs Burt said she is concerned at the proposed fee for these services - of £412 per fire engine, per hour.

“I can appreciate that £400 is exactly what it costs for an appliance to be called out, but I wonder if an element of discretion is needed. Maybe a token charge would be more appropriate.

“It is important that people do not waste the fire service’s time and I think it will make people think twice, but I don’t think it’s fair that people who have no other option, but to call them are left to pay a hefty charge.”

The charges have been introduced following revision of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, which came into force in February this year, and sets out new guidelines and freedoms for fire authorities on charging for services carried out.

There remains no charge forofficers attending serious incidents such as fires and road traffic collisions.

Vij Randeniya, chief fire officer, added: “We have made no secret of the financial difficulties we are currently facing, and with potential funding cuts of up to £30 million, it is clear we have to prioritise our resources.

“I am committed to ensuring that the people of the West Midlands receive the best possible service from us, and I hope they will support us by only using 999 for genuine emergencies.”

 

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