Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue is in talks with that of Avon to see if they can work together in the face of budget cuts.

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The services are exploring ways to improve their cost-effectiveness, such as sharing support functions or even a full merger.

Somerset County Councillor Mark Healey, who is the chairman of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Working with Avon Fire and Rescue Service could provide real opportunities for improving public safety.

“We recognise that the fire and rescue services have to change and, like others, face an uncertain financial future.

“Working with another fire and rescue service may help reduce our costs, while continuing our aim to improve or maintain public safety.”

The current talks are purely preliminary.

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