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Investment in Highlands and Islands Fire Stations

Issued: 5 Mar 2007

The go ahead for two new fire stations at Helmsdale and Scourie has brought the investment in new premises in the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service area to more than £6 million over the past three years. The Service is delighted to learn that the Scottish Executive is to provide £900,000 for two new Sutherland fire stations. Work is anticipated to commence in the summer months with completion of both projects by March 2008.

This comes hard on the heels of news that the Executive has injected a further £700,000 for a Highlands & Fire and Rescue Service development at Fort William, which is due for completion this summer. Also due for completion this summer are fire stations at Beauly and Valtos, Shetland.

The additional capital funding for new buildings is the result of a sustained campaign by the Fire Board, led by its Convener Councillor Drew MacFarlane-Slack, to ensure that the fire-fighters in the Highlands & Islands have the proper facilities to do their job. The news is a further boost to the Fire Board's building programme, which has seen in recent years the completion of new retained stations at Mid Yell, Durness, Lochcarron, Dunvegan, Shawbost and Lochmaddy. These stations represent a total investment of £2.4million and the benefits are now felt in communities throughout the Highlands and Islands.

Councillor McFarlane Slack said: "This is tremendous news for both the communities of the Highlands and Islands and the Fire Service and, along with our extensive building programme over the past four years, will enhance the facilities for the whole region. In terms of building new facilities, this news is the icing on the cake for what has already been one of the most productive periods ever for the provision of new fire stations in the Highlands and Islands."

Chief Fire Officer Brian Murray added: "We should be proud that we have completed six new fire stations in 2005/06, commenced the build of three more in the 2006/07 and will commence another two next year. This represents an overall spend of almost £6 million in the communities of the Highland, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. An investment of this magnitude would not have been possible without the greatly appreciated support of the Scottish Executive's Justice Department, which has been our active partner in seeking solutions to the capital challenges faced by the Fire Service in the Highlands and Islands."

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