FIRE crews in Shropshire are set to miss their annual target of reaching emergencies within 15 minutes.

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority will be told that the target of a four officer crew and engine to be on scene within a quarter of an hour only happens 86 per cent of the time.

The authority set a target for the year of 89 per cent.

The authority’s strategy and resources committee will discuss the figures at a meeting on Thursday.

A report to the committee by chief fire officer Rod Hammerton says: “Although the service is likely to fail to achieve this year’s target by approximately three per cent (the first year the target has been missed since the five-year plan was put in place in 2015), it is recommending that the authority should continue with the target of 89 per cent for the coming year.

“Officers are exploring the results from 2018/19 in detail, to ascertain what changes have occurred in the profile of the incidents the service has responded to over this last 12 months, to better understand if this is a short-term anomaly, or a predictor of longer-term changes.”

The committee will also hear that the target for the number of accidental fires happening in the county will be missed.

The authority set a target of no more than 462 accidental fires in 2018/19, but the number is already at 447 and is predicted to hit 480 by the end of the financial year.

Mr Hammerton said: “Although the service is likely to fail to achieve this year’s target by possibly 18 fires, it is recommending that the authority should continue with the five-year targeted reduction through next year.

“The 25 per cent reduction across the five years has always been known to be a stretch target and it is felt that continuing to aim for this will help to drive performance in this important area.”

The authority also set a target of there being no more than 198 accidental dwelling fires, but there has already been 191 and is expected to hit 210 before the year’s end.

However, Mr Hammerton reports that “performance is good” in the reduction of deliberate fires, with only 358 happening so far this year against a target of 584.

There were also two deaths and two serious injuries caused by fire in the county this year.

Mr Hammerton added: “The authority’s five-year service plan, which was approved by the fire authority in April 2015, set a suite of challenging targets for the five years up to 2020.

“The targets were set with a view to continuously improve performance and

are reviewed and updated annually. 2019/20 is the final year of the plan and

the proposed service targets continue the five per cent year-on-year reduction.”