National petition to save HM Coastguard stations

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In December 2010 the UK Government announced modernisation consultation proposals for HM Coastguard. At that time the intention was to reduce the UK's eighteen Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres to just two centres which would operate 24hrs per day. These centres (MOC's) would be supported by only five sub centres that would only be operational throughout "daylight hours only".(See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12007031).

UK Coastguard HQ Centres are responsible for the co-ordination of Search and Rescue along the UK coastline, as well as providing shipping information and a number of other essential services along the UK coastline.

Announcing the cuts, Shipping Minister Mike Penning said "Our seas are becoming busier, with larger ships and increasing numbers of offshore renewable energy platforms making key areas of our seas more congested. There are also increasing numbers of people using our beaches, coastlines and seas for leisure activities.

The proposals were overwhelmingly rejected by EVERY Coastguard station, campaigners and by the Transport Select Committee who conducted a full investigation and concluded that the modernisation proposals were "seriously flawed".

On 14th July 2011, Philip Hammond MP - Secretary of State for Transport announced that the Government had looked at the responses to the original consultation and had examined the evidence. He then announced new consultation proposals which indicated that Eleven named Coastguard stations would to be retained on a 24/7 basis but that eight remaining named stations would close.

To the UK Government

Whilst welcoming the news of steps forward towards safer proposals, Coastguard officers and campaigners nevertheless are gravely concerned that despite assurances that Ministers were "listening" to the concerns of members of the public, Coastguard officers, Campaigners, Members of Parliament and devolved Governments, the revised proposals are also unacceptable not least on the basis that vital local knowledge will continue be lost and therefore lives will continue to be out at risk on our coastlines.

This petition is intended to urge the UK Government to urgently review this decision to cut essential emergency services from coastal areas. HM Coastguard should not be subjected to cuts because the safety of those at sea and in coastal communities remains a much more urgent priority than financially driven targets.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE SAVES LIVES