A cross-party group of MPs has called for the coastguard modernisation proposals to be scrapped
The Transport Select Committee (TSC), a cross-party group of MPs, has been investigating the government’s plans to close over half of the current provision of coastguard centres for the last few months.
However, in the report published today the TSC says that the government’s plans are “seriously flawed” and it calls on the immediate withdrawal of the proposals.
Launching the report, Transport Committee Chair Louise Ellman said, “We found little support for the current proposals and we have no confidence that, under these proposals, the coastguard will in future be able to respond to emergencies at sea as well as they do now, let alone in a more effective way.
“A drastic reduction in the number of rescue co-ordination centres will result in a loss of local knowledge amongst coastguard officers who are responsible for taking calls from people and vessels in distress. The committee is not convinced by the government’s claim that technology can, at present, replace such local knowledge.”
The TSC did concede that there is a case for reducing the total number of rescue co-ordination centres but it said that any future reorganisation should be based on the use of 24-hour centres and not on stations open only during daylight hours.
The committee also condemned the government’s decision to withdraw funding for the four Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs) stationed around the UK’s coast, saying that it had found “no evidence” that a suitable alternative for these tugs exists and that the government’s decision to withdraw funding for them is “inviting disaster.”