Bedfordshire covers an area of approximately 123,500 hectares and has a growing population currently estimated to be approaching 620,000. The area consists principally of rural landscape and incorporates a number of market towns, including Ampthill, Biggleswade, Woburn and Leighton Buzzard. Larger towns include Bedford, Kempston, Luton, Stopsley and Dunstable. Bedfordshire and Luton borders with Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.
In addition to our large and diverse community risk we also have a number of special risks including London Luton Airport, along with a significant road network including the M1 and A1 motorways. Bedfordshire is growing as a national distribution hub and has a number of large industrial sites and warehouses. One of the busiest commuter rail links in the country runs from Bedford south to London and beyond. Within our boundary we also have a significant stock of heritage buildings and environmental sites of special interest. Countywide rivers present us with special problems during spate flooding conditions.
To protect our communities and respond to emergency calls we have 14 strategically positioned Fire Stations and an Emergency Communication Centre.
There are five wholetime stations, crewed 24 hours a day, at Luton, Stopsley, Dunstable, Bedford and Kempston. The fire stations at Bedford and Kempston are also supported by Retained Duty System (RDS) personnel.
Leighton Buzzard is day crewed by wholetime staff during the daytime and reverts to a Retained Crewing System during the night.
In addition, we have eight stations at Ampthill, Biggleswade, Harrold, Potton, Sandy, Shefford, Toddington and Woburn which are crewed by personnel on the Retained Duty System.