Dorset and Wiltshire fire authorities merger approved

A merger between the Wiltshire and Swindon fire authority and its Dorset counterpart has been formally approved by the government.

Fire officials believe the move will help to protect frontline services. The new authority will come into being on 1 April 2016.

Fire Services Minister Penny Mordaunt said the merger would "bring great benefits" to the local fire service.

Dorset's chief fire officer, Darran Gunter, will lead the authority.

The service, which is expected to have a budget of about £55m, will save the two authorities £4.5m a year.

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