TAYSIDE fire chief Alasdair Hay will be the first Chief Officer of the new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, it was announced today.

Minister say the post will be one of the top fire jobs in the UK and one of the most demanding and high-profile roles in civic Scotland.

Edinburgh-born Mr Hay, 50, will be based in Perth and receive an annual salary of £165,000.

Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham confirmed the appointment at Perth Community Fire Station, which will be the interim headquarters for the new service when it goes lives on April 1, 2013.

Mr Hay is currently acting Chief Fire Officer of Tayside and has also worked with Essex County Fire and Rescue, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Advisory Unit and the Scottish Fire Services College.

He is expected to start in the Autumn, following the appointment of the SFRS Chair.

The new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will have a workforce of more than 9000 firefighters and support staff, with accountability for a multi-million pound budget and responsibility for ensuring the safety of more than five million people.

It is hoped the new service will reduce duplication of support services and sustain frontline services and ensure more equal access to specialist support and national capacity.

Single police and fire services will deliver estimated efficiency savings of £1.7 billion over 15 years.

Ms Cunningham said: "Mr Hay has the experience and attributes to be an outstanding first Chief Officer for the new single service. He has passion for the service and genuine commitment for the successful delivery of the new single structure.

"I am confident he will work closely and constructively with the Board and all other partners to ensure the continued delivery of excellent fire and rescue services in communities right in all parts of Scotland."

Mr Hay said: "I am honoured to take this unique opportunity to shape and deliver the new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. It will allow us to sustain and improve the local services communities in all parts of Scotland depend on, to build on success and do more.

"Throughout my career, I have demonstrated a genuine commitment to partnership working. I will continue to work closely with the workforce, unions, government, local authorities and other key partners to maintain the high standards of the Scottish fire and rescue services.

"Above all, the single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will strengthen the connections with all communities and the people we serve. This new service will be efficient and effective, and focused on the needs of the people who depend on the vital services our dedicated workforce delivers."