England

Cumbria and Northumberland fire merger plan explored

Initial talks will be held about whether Cumbria and Northumberland fire services could be merged.

Early in the new year, councillors in both counties will decide if they would like to take the proposal any further.

If they agree to, a feasibility study will be carried out and considered in March or April.

The proposal has been put forward because of the similarities between the services and as a possible way of making savings.

Northumberland County Council executive member for public protection Councillor Alan Thompson said: "We are working with Cumbria County Council to explore ways that our fire and rescue operations may be able to collaborate to make savings whilst ensuring first class front line services.

"At this stage it is too early to say where these discussions will lead and we need to take this initial step to see if it's worth taking things further."

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