The Government has scuttled its original plan to cut the number of Coastguard maritime rescue centres to save money and brought out a new plan where the number of planned closures has been drastically reduced.
With the first plan, the Government launched a consultation process in December, 2010, and received a total of over 1,800 responses.
Announcing the new plan on July 14, the Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond said: “There were many well-thought out responses to this consultation, including specific alternative proposals. “While these responses reflected a general acceptance that change and modernisation is necessary, they also expressed concerns over a potential loss of local knowledge and a perceived weakening of operational relationships.
“The Government’s updated proposals reflect these responses and propose creating a nationally networked system of Coastguard stations.” These would comprise a new Maritime Operations Centre in the Southampton/Portsmouth area with a back-up facility at the existing Dover site which will be retained as a 24 hour centre, and eight sub-centres, all operated on a 24 hour basis, located at Falmouth, Milford Haven, Holyhead, Belfast, Stornoway, Shetland, Aberdeen and Humber. The small station at London was also retained.
Under the new proposals, the Coastguard stations at Clyde, Forth, Portland, Liverpool, Yarmouth, Brixham, Thames, and Swansea would close progressively between 2012 and 2014/15.
The new proposals announced in July are the subject of a period of consultation which ends on Oct 6.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - September 2011 Issue
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