TAXPAYERS in Wiltshire and Dorset will be charged an extra £2.11 per year for the fire and rescue service.

The decision was made unanimously by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority members on Friday which will see its element of the council tax bill rise by more than two per cent.

The fire service’s precept for Band D properties will increase 4p per week, from £70.59 per year to £72.70 from April.

Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell said: “Members have approved a fire precept Band D that is still well below the national average, and we also this year received another large funding reduction, as the government has granted us 5.8 per cent less than last year. Despite that, we are investing even more in our on-call firefighters, who are so essential to maintaining fire cover in our predominantly rural areas.

“Alongside this, we are completely committed to our prevention and protection activities, targeting those most at risk at home, at work or on the roads, and we will continue working with all our partners.

“Together with local authorities and health partners, we will deliver a range of schemes that will positively benefit all of our communities.”

Councillor Spencer Flower, fire authority chairman, added: “We have a fantastic Fire and Rescue Service, and the Authority decisions today will ensure that the increased activity in prevention and protection such as Safe & Well checks, community safety education and partnerships can be strengthened. We deliver so much to our local communities, from a 24/7 emergency response to an ever-increasing range of personal and business safety activities, and we are as committed as ever to ensuring this continues."