Monday, 06 June 2016 10:54

'Blue-light' deal for National Parks

Written by  Ruralcity Media
'Blue-light' deal for National Parks

A landmark agreement aims to ensure emergency services cover rural communities in National Parks.

The joint accord between National Parks England and the Home Office means communities stand to benefit from improved emergency service communications.

It will support the roll-out of the emergency services mobile communications programme while protecting the qualities of National Parks by minimising any adverse environmental impacts.

With English National Parks covering almost 10% of the country, the "blue-light" agreement is seen an important step forward in ensuring rural communities have responsive emergency services.

National Parks England is the umbrella organisation that brings together England's nine National Park Authorities (NPAs) and the Broads Authority.

Jim Bailey, the organisation's chairman, said: "National Parks have always been about finding pragmatic long term solutions to the many competing demands on land.

"Ensuring modern telecommunications infrastructure is no different.

"The stunning landscapes and towns are the lifeblood for our rural economies and we are delighted that the Home Office is committed to working with National Parks to protect them.

"This is a welcome sign that we hope will be replicated by other government departments."

The programme aims enable future levels of government spending on emergency services mobile communications to be reduced by up to £1 million a day.

Due to be completed by late 2019, it is responsible for developing and implementing the replacement to the current airwave service.

This new service – the Emergency Services Network (ESN) – will operate across England, Scotland and Wales.

It will be used by the police, fire and rescue services, ambulance trusts and other public safety and security organisations.

Police and fire minister Mike Penning said: "This new critical national infrastructure will be sympathetic to the character of national parks in England.

"It will enable the three emergency services to operate enhanced services inside national parks using modern 4G voice and fast data service communications."

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