Coastguard cuts consultation ends

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THE public consultation over proposed cuts to the UK’s coastguard service – which would see Bridlington’s Humber Control Centre downgraded to a daytime only station – has ended.

And at the same time, a House of Commons Transport Select Committee is currently looking into the plans, hearing from coastguards, maritime experts and unions, and will publish a report into its findings.

The controversial proposals would see the 24-hour Humber Control Centre changed to a daytime only station along with five others nationwide.

Twenty-two jobs would be under threat locally.

Ten other stations would be closed, leaving only two 24-hour super-stations, at Aberdeen and on the Solent.

Paul Chapman, watch officer at the Limekiln Lane station and Public Communication Service Union representative, said he does not believe the plans will be implemented as “there is no support from anywhere for them”.

He also confirmed that a petition against the proposed downgrading of the Bridlington based Humber station has now amassed more than 6,500 signatures.

In March, Transport Minister Mike Penning extended the consultation period by six weeks, saying he had already received more than 1,000 submissions.

He told the Commons: “All of the control centres I have visited accept that we have to modernise the service and go forward.

“The robustness and resilience of the service isn’t there. We have had some fantastic submissions where they have actually engaged in going forward.”

No ministerial decision will be made until the Transport Select Committee publishes its report on the proposals to modernise the coastguard service.

Responses to the consultation will be evaluated by an independent review team representing a cross section of HM Coastguard staff which has been put together following discussions with the Public and Commercial Services Union.