Criteria for seeking Fire and Rescue contributions

The provision of effective fire and rescue services is dependent upon maintaining both a local and strategic approach. The value of the contribution required to mitigate the impact of development on fire and rescue resources will be considered from this approach.

Residential properties pose the highest risk to life from fire related incidents. For residential developments a clear link can be established between the number of households and the expenditure of fire and rescue resources. The formula for residential properties calculates the implications of a development in terms of the demand created for the associated capital requirements. Application of this model to all developments will help ensure that the fire and rescue service’s strategic capability is maintained. On a local level, this means that when locally based resources are committed to an incident, alternative resources are available to maintain the fire authority’s operational response standards within the local area.

For non-residential developments, it is possible to divide the expenditure of fire and rescue resources. Although potentially posing a lower risk to life than residential property fires, incidents in industrial or commercial properties have far-reaching socio-economic consequences. When they occur, non-residential property incidents can have a significant impact on fire and rescue resources, often requiring support from across the county and beyond county boundaries. The requirements relating to non-residential buildings can vary greatly dependent upon use and other criteria.

Find out more about the cost models used for fire and rescue resources for residential and non-residential properties.

Seeking a contribution for non-residential as well as residential development may be seen by some developers as double counting. However, the ‘activity factor’ ensures that costs are spread.

For development schemes involving both residential and non-residential development, a contribution will be sought based on the residential formula and the specific requirements of the development. This takes into account any particular risk factors.

WFRS attends a significant number of incidents other than fire. The most significant area is road traffic collisions (RTCs). Whilst it is more difficult to align this activity with specific areas of growth, the impact on WFRS cannot be ignored.

All WFRS activity has been considered in terms of maintaining the strategic response capability when developing the contributions formulae.

To seek contributions from all developments (whether residential or non-residential) regardless of size, would place an unreasonable burden on the planning system. Contributions will only be sought for applications above an agreed threshold. These thresholds are:

  • residential developments - 10 dwellings or greater.
  • non-residential developments - where the footprint of proposed non-residential building is 100 square metres or greater.

WFRS’s preferred approach to managing risk within new developments is to minimise the likelihood of serious fires occurring. This can be enhanced through installing fire suppression systems such as domestic sprinklers, in properties likely to present the highest risk. To support this approach, we will negotiate down the level of developer contribution in accordance with an undertaking by the developer to install appropriate automatic sprinklers. This will be in domestic properties identified as ‘high-risk’ such as low-cost housing and sheltered accommodation. It will also apply in all non-domestic property types.