Inquiry into coastguard closure welcomed by MPs
SOUTH Devon MPs have welcomed news that there will be a Parliamentary inquiry into the threatened Brixham Coastguard Station.
Tory MP for Totnes Dr Sarah Wollaston said: "I am delighted to hear that the Transport Select Committee will be conducting an enquiry into the coastguard proposals and other maritime issues including towing vessels.
"This will provide another opportunity to examine the safety of the proposals."
Lib Dem MP for Torbay Adrian Sanders said: "Everything helps which keeps asking questions about what led to the coastguard service's conclusions.
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"I hope they are within time in order to influence the coastguard decision."
Coastguards will be in Torquay today drumming up support for the Save Our Station campaign.
They will have a stall in Union Street where shoppers can sign a petition against plans to axe Brixham Coastguard Station.
Les Jenkin, Brixham coastguard and member of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: "We will also be able to answer any questions on the proposals and as union members we will be able to talk about our feelings about it. If it all goes well we might do Paignton next week.
"Brixham is very well covered, we have a lot of support there but we're not sure if people in Torquay and Paignton are really aware of the implications of the proposed cuts.
"We are concerned about what may happen in the future if we closed. They say people will not be at risk but we think they will, not only here but all around the UK if these coastguard stations close.
"If there are only two big centres in Portsmouth and Aberdeen they will get a lot more calls coming in.
"On busy days in the summer we can push up to 20 calls a day and it's the same in Portland, while Solent coastguards get up to 30 calls a day in the summer.
"Under the proposals there will be no manned stations at night from Portsmouth, all down the English Channel and round Land's End, all up the west coast around Stornoway and Shetland and round to Aberdeen. That's a very big area for only two stations to cover.
"Our great concern is whether these two new big stations will be able to cope."
He added: "We get lots of visitors here and if they are in a little cove somewhere, they might know they are near Bigbury or Berry Head but they may not know what the actual cove is called."
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is holding a public meeting about the proposed cuts, at Brixham College at 7.30pm on March 10.