§ Mr. Hooson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether all fire authorities in England and Wales are subject to the 1963 directives on criteria for fire risk areas; and whether any modifications of these directives have been sought or approved under any economy measures;
(2) what inquiries, if any, he has ordered into the decision of any fire authorities to withdraw any stations as economy measures in breach of the 1963 directives to fire authorities;
(3) whether the Government have any plans for establishing new criteria for fire risk areas.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
Statutory responsibility for providing fire cover rests with the fire authority concerned. In 1958 the Home Office recommended to fire authorities in England and Wales the standards of fire cover that should apply according to the category of risk of the area concerned; supplementary guidance to assist with assessing risk categories was issued in 1974. No modifications have been made to the 1958 standards, nor have we any plans to modify them or establish new criteria. A fire authority may not close a fire station without my approval. No proposals to close any fire stations as an economy measure have been made to me.