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Fire and rescue services acts and orders

Section 7 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act places a statutory duty on a Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) to plan and in England and Wales, Part 2, 11 (2) (b) of the Fire and Rescue Services Act provides for the ‘Fire and Rescue Authority to take any action it considers appropriate – (if) the event or situation is one that causes or is likely to cause harm to the environment (including the life and health of plants and animals)’. Fire (Scotland) Act Part 3 section 13 (ii) offers a similar provision that also specifies the fabric of buildings.

The Act does not place an explicit duty or requirement on the fire and rescue service to protect the environment. Each risk management plan should demonstrate how a fire and rescue service will take account of the built and natural environment in its wider community safety strategy.

In Scotland, the Fire (Scotland) Act places a duty on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to mitigate the environmental impact of the spillage or release of pollutants.

Risk planning and the requirement to protect the environment through plans produced by risk assessment allow the fire and rescue service to approach its local environmental agency contact with evidence to support local pollution prevention initiatives. The requirement to consider the environment within the risk management plan, together with the strengthened commitment from the environmental agencies, should ensure that the fire and rescue service plays a key role in ensuring public safety by protecting the natural environment and drinking water supplies. See the section, Planning to protect the environment for more information on risk planning.