Government signals a climb down on coastguard closures

The Government has given its strongest indication yet that it plans to scale down the proposed coastguard closures

In an interview with the BBC today the Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond MP, said, “We are looking again at the best configuration that will allow us to deliver those technological improvements, those working practice improvements, and we will announce our conclusion to Parliament before the summer recess.”

Although the Government stopped short of saying it was planning a U-turn on proposals, it is now widely believed that the original plan to close over half of the existing coastguard coordination centres will now be scaled down following huge public outcry.

Louise Ellman MP, chair of of the Transport Select Committee, which has been conducting an investigation into the Government’s controversial proposals to “modernise” the coastguard service, said, “Next week we will be questioning the minister and the chief executive of the Maritme and Coastguard Agency in the House of Commons and we will be asking them some very direct questions.”