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Stuck cats will land owners a hefty bill

CATS rescued from a tree will land their owners with a bill of almost £350 under a new charging policy by fire chiefs in Scotland.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is introducing a price list for attending all non-emergency incidents and industrial training events.

They charge firefighters out at £24 an hour, crew managers at £27 an hour, and fire engines at £285, all plus VAT.

Drivers involved in crashes could face a fire brigade fee for clearing hazardous roadside spillages and homeowners could pay for summoning firemen to pump out flood water or rescue their cat if it is stuck up a tree.

The current cost is £285 per hour - £342 including VAT - per fire appliance.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said other non-emergency incidents crews attend include freeing people from jammed lifts and gaining entry to premises.

Fire authorities have more freedom to charge after a revision in the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 in February.

Eight regional fire services, which amalgamated to become SFRS on April 1 last year, had their own approach to charging for non-emergency call-outs.

However, a report to the Fire Service Board says the new charging policy for the single service enables the service to "explore potential income streams that have had limited application in the past".

The charges are expected to bring in £136,000 a year.

They are based on the expected actual cost of delivery to the Fire Service.

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