17052 – Minimum Highway Dimensions For Fire Service Vehicles

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A request for information about the minimum highway dimensions to provide access for fire service vehicles -17072

Ref: FOI/17052

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 20th May 2017.

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

What are the minimum highway dimensions to provide access for fire service vehicles?

Reply

This information is reasonably readily available on the Approved Document B5 on HM Government site , therefore is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act.  Link to the documents is:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485420/BR_PDF_AD_B1_2013.pdf

Request

What are the minimum space requirements to allow crews to work around those same vehicles?

Reply

Evaluation would be on a case by case basis, please contact your local authority planning who will direct you queries or application to West Midlands Fire Research for evaluation.

Request

If the access dimensions are smaller in width or height – or greater in maximum hose length – than those recommended by either the building regulations section B5 or the Association of Chief Fire Officers – then details of the risk / operational assessment that has determined these dimensions as being sufficient.

Reply

Minimum carrying capacity required by this authority for access routes are currently 15 tonnes for a pump and 26 tonnes for a high reach further information is readily available on the Approved Document B5 HM Government site, therefore is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act.  Link to the documents is:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485420/BR_PDF_AD_B1_2013.pdf

Request

The circumstances under which local fire safety officers would find it acceptable for the width of the running highway for access to be reduced to less than 3.7m. If it is not possible to give a prescriptive list – then the factors that would be taken into consideration in making such a decision, and range of acceptable dimensions.

Reply

Evaluation would be on a case by case basis, please contact your local authority planning who will direct you queries or application to West Midlands Fire Service for evaluation.

Request

-If the requirements vary across the West Midlands please detail the requirement for North Birmingham

Reply

Requirements do not vary and are the same as in Approved Document B5.

Request

If the dimensions vary depending on the premises being attended, then please detail the requirement for up to 3 storey residential buildings.

Reply

This information is  reasonably readily available on the Approved Document B5 HM Government site , therefore is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act.  Link to the documents is:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485420/BR_PDF_AD_B1_2013.pdf

Request

-If a carriageway width is specified (for example 3.7m kerb to kerb) the impact that on-street parking would have on that dimension, be that for access or working around the pump appliance.
e.g. would an extra 2m be required to allow for parking on one side of the street and a further 2m if parking was permitted on both sides of the street, etc

Reply

This information is reasonably readily available on the Streets Manual HM Government site , therefore is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act.  Link to the documents is:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/341513/pdfmanforstreets.pdf

Request

can I ask some follow-up questions to fully clarify the Fire service’s position.

The minimum highway width is 3.7m kerb to kerb (manual for streets 6.7.2 + 6.7.3) The recommended on street parking bay size is 2m wide (manual for streets 8.3.48  (page 110))

1) Therefore is the minimum highway width that the fire service would find acceptable for access where parking is permitted down one side of the public highway 5.7m ?   (3.7m + 2m)

Reply

The minimum highway width is 5.5 metres not 3.7 metres.  The minimum access route width is 3.7 metres.  Each case is considered on an individual basis.

Request

2) Would the fire service object on access grounds if parking was being permitted on a public highway narrower than 5.7m (and there are dwellings that the fire service may have to access)

Reply

For an access route this point would make sense.  However parking bay approval / dimensions would be the responsibility of the local authority planning department.

Request

and Finally,

3) That these same dimensions apply to both proposed developments and existing situations.

Reply

This depends on the individual case.  Is parking being allowed on one side only?  Is high reach access required?  Etc.   Each case is considered on an individual basis.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

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