REVEALED: Fire service spends more than £3.3m on new vehicles in last three years

The Unimog.
The Unimog.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has spent more than £3.3m on vehicles in the last three years, which includes splashing out almost £300,000 on four trucks used to rescue obese people.

A Freedom of Information request by the Derbyshire Times shows the fire service spent a total of £3,319,490 between 2013 and 2015.

The Unimog U5000.

The Unimog U5000.

Last year, £307,538 was spent on 25 vehicles, including seven cars, 17 vans and one fire appliance vehicle which cost almost £69,000.

In 2014, £311,847 was spent on 16 vehicles, including 14 vans and a special appliance (water carrier), costing £157,509.

And in 2013, a huge £2,700,105 was lumped on 25 vehicles, including two aerial ladder platforms costing £637,152 each, and four Unimog vehicles - which are used to rescue obese people and animals - costing more than £282,000 each.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is a worrying amount to be spent on a single vehicle. Obesity may well be a problem but when authorities are having to find necessary savings it does beg the question if this really can be the best use of taxpayers’ money.”

Defending the purchases, a spokesman for DFRS said: “The cost of any vehicle is carefully considered before purchase.

“A robust purchasing procedure ensures that best value is sought when considering and purchasing any service vehicles.

“The service has moved away from leasing vehicles where it is proven best value to purchase the vehicles outright and then sell them on at the end of their period of use. A generous subsidised purchase scheme is in place with many of our fleet providers whereby the service benefits from significant discounts against retail list prices.”

The Unimog is used primarily for large animal rescues, however its capability to lift heavy objects and travel over difficult terrain with its 4x4 wheels.”

It has been used 25 times since January 2015, with 17 animal rescues, three bariatric rescues, four rescues of people from water and one person who was trapped.

DFRS have attended 53 incidents involving obese people since 2013.