Fire service trials emergency tree clearing service


A trial is underway which will see dangerous fallen trees being removed from Oxfordshire’s roads by the fire and rescue service.

At the moment the county councils contractors deal with all fallen trees but it is thought that in many circumstances a “blue light” response will be able to restore safety and traffic flows more quickly, as well as saving money.

The work will be done by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service chainsaw trained firefighters from the Specialist Rescue Team. They will take responsibility for dealing with any tree that falls on the highway.

Fire service an integral part of the county council

County Councillor Rodney Rose, Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “The Fire and Rescue service is an integral part of the county council and it makes sense that they should use our specialist skills and resources to benefit residents if it can save time, maintain safety and save money.”

Only trees that fall onto roads will be dealt with by the fire service - trees falling on private land will remain the responsibility of the owners and emergency call outs will remain the fire service’s top priority.

The council will still have access to its current tree contractors who will carry out emergency work in the event of high numbers of trees down or if the fire and rescue service does not have the resources.

County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Cabinet member for Environment, said: “Residents will know all about the work that our crews do to rescue people and put out fires, but clearly the range of things that they can help with is quite broad.

“I will be keen to see the results of the trial as it has the potential to provide a faster and more efficient service.”