£700,000 to be spent on overweight fire engines

FOUR “overweight” fire engines which have sat idle for two years since being bought for more than £500,000 each are to go on a £700,000 “diet” to get them fit for the road.The Combined Aerial Rescue Pump (CARP) vehicles

FOUR “overweight” fire engines which have sat idle for two years since being bought for more than £500,000 each are to go on a £700,000 “diet” to get them fit for the road.

The Combined Aerial Rescue Pump (CARP) vehicles have not yet been used because they are too heavy to be driven legally on British roads.

The revelation comes at a time when the fire authority is embroiled in a long-running dispute with fire crews over changes in shifts designed to save money.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service this week blamed "a supplier's cock-up" for the situation.

And Rotherham Borough Council’s Tory group leader, Cllr John Gilding, said:“It’s unbelievable. These people are supposed to be the guardians of our money and they drop a clanger like that.”

It is not clear exactly what the vehicle “improvements” will involve but it is understood that they will involve stripping off much of the gear supplied on top of the standard equipment.

The CARP vehicles are designed to do everything a traditional appliance does but they also have an aerial platform to allow firefighters access to the upper levels of buildings.

In 2005, South Yorkshire and Humberside fire services ordered four and two CARPS respectively at a cost of £3 million.

The first vehicle was delivered to Humberside in 2007 and, shortly after, four arrived in South Yorkshire.

But when loaded with equipment the vehicle exceeded the 26-tonne legal weight for fire engines on the road. 

Now South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has said it is spending £700,000 to make its four vehicles road-legal.