Plans to abolish fire-control centres, across the West Midlands, have been condemned by a Midland MP after it emerged the reforms would cost millions.

The region's nine firecontrol centres are to be closed and replaced with one privately-run call centre serving all five million people in the area.

But the proposal was attacked as "highly dangerous" by Peter Luff (Con Mid Worcestershire), who has written to Ministers urging them to think again.

The cost of closing 999 centres across the country is to be £72 million, the Government has admitted.

But it says emergency services will be improved by providing central control centres with the most up-to-date technology.

Mr Luff pledged to oppose the plan in a letter to Hereford and Worcester firefighters, following a meeting with them last week at a fire station in Evesham.

He has written to the Minister responsible for fire services, Phil Hope, demanding a change of heart.

He said: "A regional structure will put lives at risk, since the operators will inevitably have less knowledge of Worcestershire than the present local staff.

"The West Midlands region contains over five million people, and covers a mammoth area of nearly 13,000 square kilometres.

"The staffing levels, in the regional control rooms, will be very low and there will be heavy reliance on information technology instead of local knowledge.

"The firefighters explained to me how the five current fire authorities in the West Midlands, each with their own control room, have slightly different local approaches to emergencies, developed to suit local needs."

Following the Government's Fire & Rescue Services Act 2004, all local fire authorities in England have been allocated to one of the nine Government Office regions, and have been required to form a regional management board.