June 20 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 26, 2012
Campaigners fighting to stop a controversial shake-up of coastguard services have taken their battle to the House of Commons .
A Transport Select Committee is looking at the government’s proposals to close a number of coastguard rescue centres – including the one at Hvenbridge House in Great Yarmouth.
Campaigners fear this will put safety at risk because vital local knowledge will be lost, although the Government believes the service will be improved and modernised.
The select committee recently met representatives from various organisations with concerns before questioning UK Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond and Maritime and Coastguard Agency CEO Sir Alan Massey.
Dennis O’Connor, of the National Coastguard SOS Campaign, said it was clear the committee had “grave concerns” about the plans. “This is the second such inquiry the committee has conducted and it was obvious from ministerial responses that, whilst there may well be plenty of determination to close stations, there appears to be very little ability to formulate and implement a plan which is both credible and safe,” he said.
But Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey said she had sought reassurances there would be effective cover. “More resources will be put into our local coastguard offices that actually carry out the rescues,” she said. “Safety will be a top priority.”