Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Save our Coastguard Stations

The coaliton plans to downgrade the Coastguard service provided by Falmouth station and to generally slash the cover available verges on the insane. Although they like to carp on about modernisation and providing a better service this is simply not true. It emerged a few days ago that fundamental aspects of the changes had simply not even been considered, a prime example being the fact that the 'proposals' had not considered whether 999 calls might go unanswered, prompting scathing criticism from the Public and Commercial Services Union. As the This is Cornwall website reported: Risk assessed 'on back of a fag packet' . This follows the revelation that the proposed cuts to the number of operational stations were planned before the before the government scrapped the Nimrod fleet, (The Press and Journal) Thus their have been no allowances in the plans for what affect this lack of communication aircraft would have on maritime safety and pressures on Coastaguard services. Further as reported in the Stornoway Gazette, campaigners have put in a FOI request to confirm that a 'table top' exercise (based on the proposed number of stations) had been a complete disaster. Read the story here.

I know above is a list of stories and facts without much explantion to each individual situtation, but they all go to show that the proposed closing of Coastguard stations is badly thought out. They have obviously decided on cutting so many jobs and stations and then thought about how that will impact maritime safety. It goes without saying that safety should be the number one concern and the foundation from which to plan the coastguard service not anything else. Here in Cornwall and throughout these islands the coastguard are the 4th emergency service (sorry but the AA are far from the Coastguard that risk their lives to save others). They stand ready to help shipping, fishermen, leisure craft, swimmers, beach users, cliff walkers etc etc.

The Coastguard station at Pendennis in Falmouth is world renowned, the system works well and many lives have been saved. Or to put it another it ain't broke don't fix it. This is the message that needs to be told in no uncertain terms to the MCGA who are holding a public consultation at the Tremough University Campus at 7:30 this evening (wednesday 9th March).

More on that from the Falmouth Packet
A link to the UK wide online petiton
The MCGA Consultation Document on the 'reforms'

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