The shipping minister, Mike Penning, has confirmed that eight coastguard stations will close under government plans to "modernise" the service
In a statement yesterday, the Department for Transport confirmed that the amended proposals regarding coastguard provision, as announced in July, would be going ahead, following a short consultation period.
The plans, which will shrink the current coastguard centre provision down from 18 stations to just 10, will include one maritime operations centre to be established in Fareham, Hants, which will replace the centre in the Solent, and a back-up facility at the existing Dover coordination centre. Both facilities will operate on a 24-hour basis.
In addition, there will be a further eight 24-hour coastguard stations located at Falmouth, Milford Haven, Holyhead, Belfast, Stornoway, Shetland, Aberdeen and Humber. The station at London will also be retained.
In news that is sure to anger local campaigners, the centres at Forth, Clyde, Great Yarmouth, Liverpool, the Thames, Swansea, Brixham and Portland will close progressively by 31 March 2015.
Announcing the plans, the Shipping Minister, Mike Penning, said, “These reforms provide a clear plan for the future of Her Majesty’s Coastguard.
“They will deliver a resilient and fully networked national rescue coordination service. They will make much better use of the talents and skills of our Coastguards and will provide more interesting and rewarding work with better pay.”