Richard Drax, the Dorset MP, continues to argue against the Coastguard ‘cuts’, as reported in a BBC article.
We remain concerned about this too, but when we talked to Coastguard, they made a number of points which ought to be taken into account
- While the control centres are being closed, these have not had visual coverage of the coast for many years
- There is no downsizing of the 356 Coastguard Rescue Teams around the UK Coast, including Hill Head, Lymington, Portsmouth, Hayling and Selsey on the Solent mainland; and Ryde and the Needles on the Isle of Wight Solent shore
- Management and training resources for the coast rescue teams are being increased
- The helicopter provision is one of the largest contracts awarded by central government, and is in direct control of Treasury
So while Richard Drax may have a good point about the extra flying time for the helicopter to reach the Dorset coast, it is difficult to argue that local knowledge has been reduced, especially when the new voluntary Coastwatch service is being integrated into the coastguard resource base.
Full details of the changes are given on our Coastguard Reorganisation issues page/
There are still some questions to be resolved, so we have arranged a talk by Geoff Matthews of HM Coastguard in Southampton on 24th January, at which questions can be asked