Save our Station - Brixham Coastguard Rally
"Save Lives – not money" will be the message at the rally to fight the closure of the Brixham Coastguard station on Saturday 17th September, at 7pm, in The Riviera International Centre, Torquay. Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes and Sheryll Murray MP for SE Cornwall will be all be attending the rally which will also be supported by Councillors from Torbay and Brixham.
Torbay and Brixham Councillor Vic Ellery, who organised the rally and also the march that was held earlier this year in support of the coastguard said "Drastic cuts to the UK Coastguard service are proposed. After the first Consultation period the proposal was amended and those stations being open for twelve hours only are put forward for closure and eight stations, operating for twenty four hours, will remain open.
Eight stations are due to close over the next couple of years, leading to an inevitable loss of local knowledge. Brixham is one of those under threat. We want to make it clear that we do not want our coastguard operations centre go and will fight to retain it. I hope that everyone who is as outraged as I am by this retrograde step in the provision of emergency cover for seafarers, coastal residents and visitors alike will join us and come along to show their support. All of the chairmen of the Parish and Town Councils in the coastal area affected have been invited to add their voices to ours here in Torbay."
The ‘Save Our Station’ campaign has seen 30 orange life buoys carrying the SOS slogan dotted around Torbay, hundreds of orange ribbons sold in support and a petition of over a thousand signatures handed to the Minister for Transport. The increased in the potential for loss of life in maritime incidents due to the closure of this station is the prime concern of all those campaigning to keep it open.
Les Jenkin, a Brixham Coastguard, said "This meeting will probably be the last opportunity that the Public and those in Authority for Harbours, Yacht Clubs etc will have to be told what the full proposals are and of the dangers and implications of closing eight Coastguard stations around the U.K. MRCC Brixham is probably in the top 3 MRCC's around the U.K. for Search and Rescue Incidents.
Last year 78% of our incidents were inshore dealing with the general public who had got into difficulty. We urge people to attend the meeting and ask MP's what they have and can do to keep the station open and to also ask Brixham Coastguard staff any questions they may have. It is vital that the concerns of the public get through to Ministers to re-think the proposals and keep our station open."
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP said ‘It is a bitter disappointment that despite the excellent proposal put forward by Brixham coastguards to the recent consultation that Brixham is still set to close under the final plans announced by the Secretary of State, Philip Hammond. It is absolutely crucial that we do not lose their local knowledge to the service."
The government has announced its intention to turn the UK's 19 Coastguard Co-ordination Centres into three 24hr centres & FIVE that are only open during daylight hours.
The current Consultation is due to close on Oct 6th after which Government will make their final decision and the process of closing stations will commence.