Coastguard fears over service cuts
COASTGUARDS who co-ordinate rescues off Scarborough have said plans to slash staff numbers and hours could put lives at risk.
The Government announced proposals last week that would see ten of the UK’s 18 Coastguard stations close in a bid to cut costs and improve efficiency.
The Humber Coastguard Station, based in Bridlington, is one of five which will remain open, but have its hours slashed.
Under the proposals the station, which covers Scarborough, will only operate from 9am to 7pm, and two-thirds of coastguards will be axed.
As well as the North Yorkshire coast, the station covers the waters from the Scottish borders to Lincolnshire.
If the proposals get the go-ahead, responsibility for co-ordinating night rescues would pass to one of only three 24-hour stations, hundreds of miles away in Aberdeen, Dover or Southampton.
In an impassioned email sent from the station, coastguards pleaded with members of the public to back their campaign against the proposed cutbacks.
They said: “Humber Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre operates around the clock and is responsible for co-ordination of all coastal search and rescue efforts in a geographic area containing some of the UK’s busiest docks, estuaries, fishing centres and oil and gas fields.
“There will be no 24-hour coastguard station on the east coast of England. We, at Humber Coastguard, believe these proposals jeopardise the safety of those on the North East coast who use the coast and venture out to sea.”
Coastguards went on to appeal to members of the public to take part in a 14-week consultation process on the plans, which got underway last week.
They added: “If you have friends who sail, walk by the sea, work at sea or live in flood areas, then please get them involved.
“The UK has more than 10,500 miles of coastline and every UK citizen lives within 60 miles of the sea.
“If you want the UK coast to remain a properly protected environment that we can all continue to enjoy and work in safely, then please take time read the proposals and provide feedback.”
Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill said such cuts were necessary if the UK is to recover economically.
He said: “Unfortunately, we are having to make cuts where we can. There are lots of areas where we are having to make cuts.
“Every time the Government announce savings the critics say we can’t make these cuts but never volunteer alternative areas where we could.”
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Weather for Scarborough
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 32 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North