The government has announced locations for seven planned control centres for its controversial Firelink system.
Firelink – a digital radio system for the national fire service – will be run from centres in Cambridge, Castle Donington, Durham, Taunton, Wakefield, Warrington and Wolverhampton.
The new control centres will go live between 2006 and 2009, by which time the system is meant to cover whole of the UK.
The government is still negotiating with property developers about its proposed centre for the South East. London’s existing regional control centre is due to be integrated into the nationwide system before the 2009 deadline.
Jim Fitzpatrick of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said, “London’s experience on 7 July showed that only a regional control centre can deal effectively with an event of that scale, particularly in terms of the specialist management required for inter-agency liaison.”
While the Chief Fire Officers Association welcomed the new control centres, the Fire Brigades Union has said that the smaller number of control rooms would mean “less resilience and increased vulnerability”.