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Fire chiefs agree partnership with Environment Agency

27 April 2018

THE NATIONAL Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Environment Agency (EA) has reaffirmed its commitment to working together to protect against a range of threats and hazards.

The pledge was made at a NFCC meeting where all UK chief fire officers unanimously agreed to sign up to a revised Memorandum of understanding. This continued collaboration means both organisations will continue to work closely together to protect communities against pollution, damage to the environment, release of radioactive substances, flooding and issues relating to disposal of waste.

It will also see work carried out on national strategic issues, UK-wide guidance for both the EA and all UK fire and rescue services, with an emphasis on protecting communities and the environment.  The key objectives of the partnership include: 

  • Environmental protection: incident prevention and mitigation;
  • Preventing waste and industry site fires;
  • Flood response cooperation;
  • Partnership communications and management, including joint campaigns to raise awareness; and
  • Protecting people and the environment from incidents and the impacts of extreme weather

Key national guidance and joint work practices will be produced by both organisations for use across the country, to ensure a joined-up approach and shared policies.

NFCC hazardous materials lead officer Dave Walton said: “The partnership that exists between NFCC and the Environment Agency is strong at both a strategic and operational level. Both organisations are committed to further developing and improving upon the work that we already do together. 

“The model of joint planning and response provides a highly effective service to the community we serve and the environment which we are all committed to protecting and enhancing. The signing of the revised Memorandum of Understanding is a clear commitment to developing and promoting our working relationship.”

EA incident management and resilience manager Chris Wilding added: “This partnership is one of our most important and enduring. By helping to protect against threats and hazards, the partnership contributes to a cleaner, healthier environment which benefits people and the economy.”

“This will help to ensure the best use of shared skills and resources available. Work will also take place to identify any key risks to people and the environment in terms of weather or climate change.” 

Another key element of the work will be jointly responding to consultations, developments and regulatory changes to ensure a unified and stronger voice. Other key elements of the partnership will ensure activities fire and rescue services carry out minimise hazards to the environment. 

The partnership will also mean better sharing of good practice, lessons learnt, while looking at collaborative research to aid both the environmental and fire sector.  It will also mean lead to the introduction of more intelligent joint working - especially at incidents – which will lead to better preparation for future response.