RESIDENTS are urged to have their say over plans to combine the Island's fire service with Hampshire.

Full council will consider the proposal to create a combined fire authority, which would would cover Southampton, Portsmouth, Hampshire and the IW, on March 21.

The Island's senior fire officer, Howard Watts, said: "The Isle of Wight has a really strong, well equipped fire service that's much loved by Islanders.

"I believe this can make it even better and it's right everyone looks closely at the proposal.

"We’re really keen for residents to engage in the consultation process, to help influence the future of our service."

The council agreed to explore the proposals for a combined fire authority in February last year.

Advantages include aligning safety campaigns and increasing capacity operationally. The new combined authority would be made up of members from all relevant councils, who would make decisions on fire related matters.

As part of plans, the proportion of general council tax given to the fire service would be replaced by a separate precept, similar to the police.

Budget plans for a three-year capital investment of £940,000 towards fleet replacement and new equipment will not be affected by the plans. The operational improvements proposed in the recent review of the fire service are not linked to this proposal.