Burnham-On-Sea fire engine on M5 motorway

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is inviting views from Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge residents on how much you’d be prepared to pay for the fire service through your council tax.

The total cost of running Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service equates to approximately £43.91 a year per head of the population. The current charge is £88.24 a year for a Band ‘D’ property.

The Authority is seeking feedback about the level of council tax precept for the coming year and how satisfied local people are with the service. You can tell them what you think by using an online council tax precept survey.

Each year the Service presents options for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority’s consideration demonstrating what an increase, or no increase, would mean to the Service.

“As a combined authority, we set our own budget and council tax which is separate to those set by other local authorities,” say a spokesman.

“Our funding comes from a central government grant, a precept on the council tax, and a share of business rates.”

“The Authority is committed to its ambitious plans to end preventable fire and rescue emergencies across the two counties while addressing funding challenges.”

The Service provides 83 local fire stations across the two counties and employs about 2,000 staff, helping to keep a population of 1.7 million and several thousand visitors to our counties safe. On average, the Service attends about 16,400 incidents every year in addition to prevention activities. These include flooding, road traffic collisions, fires and other emergencies.

Over the past year, the Service says it has also increased its protection and prevention activities, making homes and businesses safer by preventing incidents before they happen.

Next year, the Service hopes to build even further on prevention and protection activities, continue investing in stations and new vehicles, and improve availability of fire engines by attracting more on call and wholetime firefighters into the Service.

Authority Chair Sara Randall Johnson adds: “We have to set a budget by balancing the needs of the community with the amount of money we receive from the government and local residents.”

“We want to make sure we give our communities the best service possible. We have ambitious plans to do this by focusing more on preventing incidents while making sure we have the right response available for when emergencies do happen.”

“It’s important that people let us know which level of council tax is acceptable so that we can consider this when setting the level of council tax.”

You can complete the survey online or if you require this in another format, contact the Communications and Engagement Team on 01392 872347. This consultation finishes on 18th December 2020.

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