Some£2m of the funding will support strategic national projects like the new pumping equipment. This also includes money for other environmental protection equipment and initiatives to help predict wildfires in rural areas.
The remaining£6 million includes a share for each of Scotland's eight fire and rescue services for other specific improvement projects in their areas. For example, successful local projects include the development of facilities at Fort William, improved fire and rescue premises across Lothian and Borders, and support for a new urban search and rescue training facility in Fife.
Mr Henry said:
'Our firefighters perform a vital role in protecting their communities. They can be real local heroes - educating the public about fire prevention, tackling fires when they do happen, and leading in other rescue work including flooding, road traffic accidents and other non-fire emergencies. But to do the job to the best of their abilities, they must also be supported by state of the art equipment, facilities, and training.
'We are committed to modernising our fire and rescue services and we are matching that commitment with investment. An important strand of that investment is capital funding. So I'm delighted to announce today details of new national projects - like pumping equipment to help communities deal more quickly and effectively with the often devastating effects of floods. National resources that can be deployed anywhere, any time that demonstrate that today's services are committed, capable and equipped to do much more for their communities than fight fires.
'But money also for important local projects which will deliver practical improvements in every fire and rescue service area in the country. This combination of first-rate professionalism from the service together with first-class support for the service from government will help give the people of Scotland even greater protection from fire and other risks - working together to help people live safer, daily lives.'
The successful local projects announced today are to help all eight Scottish fire and rescue services with specific projects in 2006/07. This£6 million national allocation is part of the capital spending for the fire and rescue services announced in the Spending Review 2004 settlement. Priority has been given to bids for IT, training, equality issues, and collaborative initiatives.
The money is part of the£24.6m capital funding available to the support the service next year, as announced in the Spending Review 2004 settlement. The balance (£18.6m) will be distributed by way of a formula-based allocation (£15.6m) with£3m being ear-marked for further centrally funded projects.
The specific successful awards are:
Central:£330,000 to assist with the provision of a new one-pump station to the east of Stirling, and the refurbishment of the retained station at Larbert. Plus a further£205,000 to assist with their 'invest to save' project from last year - the introduction of combination vehicles which will over time release firefighter posts.
Dumfries & Galloway:£500,000 for IT and premises at various locations to support community risk planning teams, two co-responder stations (in partnership with the Scottish Ambulance Service) and access to learning and development programmes at retained stations
Fife:£125,000 to assist with the provision of an Urban Search and Rescue training facility on land adjacent to the FRS HQ. This could be used by other Scottish FRSs;
Grampian:£700,000 towards the provision of a new fire station on the current Grampian HQ site.
Highlands & Islands:£1.7m for the development of facilities at Fort William (but also serving a number of volunteer and island units in the area) for training, accommodation to address equality issues, provision of District Command and Support facilities, and to provide a focus point for wider community integration
Lothian & Borders:£695,000 towards modifications to premises for accessibility, equality and community access purposes.
Strathclyde: a total of£1.25m.£500,000 for aerial rescue appliances,£250,000 for volunteer station upgrades,£200,000 for IT equipment at volunteer stations,£150,000 to develop a professional Intranet structure, and£150,000 for the provision of dignified facilities. We would propose that the funding sought for the aerial rescue appliances would be provided on condition that this is on an 'invest to save' basis so that we can ensure revenue savings are generated.
Tayside:£375,000 for the provision of dignified facilities at FRS premises in Arbroath, Kirriemuir and Auchterarder (e.g. separate toilet, shower and changing facilities for male and female firefighters)
South Eastern collaborative bid: a joint bid submitted by Lothian & Borders on behalf of themselves, Central, Dumfries & Galloway, and Fife.£100,000 for the provision of equipment for use by all four services for training on skid correction in a full-sized fire appliance.
The£2m funding for the strategic projects was made available following slippage with a specific capital project this year. The package includes:
Four High Volume Pumps plus four 'Prime Mover' heavy transport vehicles, to be procured during Spring/Summer 2006. Each of the four high volume pumps can pump water at a rate of 8,000 litres per minute over a distance of 3km . This compares to 250 ltm (and shorter distance capability) for a normal fire engine. The pumps will be strategically deployed across Scotland to cover known flood risks.
Purchase of two further Prime Movers planned for 2006/07 to be brought forward to 2005/06
5 environmental protection equipment 'pods' (carried on Prime Movers and containing booms, absorbent material for dealing with chemical spillages etc)
Funds in 2006/07 to be set aside for purchase of water rescue equipment (boats, buoyancy aids etc)
Wildland fire - supporting an information network of Wild Land Fire Groups throughout Scotland. In liaison with the Scottish Fire Services College, creation of an e-learning package for Wild Land Fires. Creation of a Scottish Fire Weather Severity Index and Muirburn Fire Behaviour Model.