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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Support for coastguard campaign

A CAMPAIGN which is rallying against the closure of coastguard stations across the UK has been backed by three local MPs.

The Coastguard SOS initiative asked MPs across the UK to register whether they were for or against the planned closures of maritime rescue and co-ordination centres (MRCCs).

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock, South Lakes MP Tim Farron and Copeland MP Jamie Reed all responded saying they were against the impending closures.

There are 16 coastguard MRCCs in the UK. Under government plans half of the rescue centres will close.

This includes the closure of Liverpool coastguard – which responds to incidents in the Morecambe Bay area – that has been set for 2014/2015.

The station, the only MRCC on the west coast of England, manages more than 750 miles of coastline and also co-ordinates search and rescue operations on Windermere, Ullswater, Derwentwater, and Coniston.

The sea rescue team, based at Crosby, has previously been called to help with dive incidents in the deepest lake in the Lake District, Wastwater.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “I’m really concerned about these closures, particularly the disproportional impact they may have on the North West.

“The tides on Morecambe Bay are some of the most dangerous in the UK and can cause even the most experienced sailors and sands walkers difficulty, so it’s vital that we have proper coastguard coverage. I’ll keep pressing ministers to ensure that our area is kept safe.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “I am very concerned by the potential loss of local knowledge arising from the closure of so many coastguard stations which do a vital job ensuring the safety of coastal communities.”

The message from the safety at sea campaign to the government is that “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.”

However, the Coastguard SOS campaign urges that the battle is not over for the Liverpool Coastguard.

For more information on volunteering contact info@coastguardsos.com.

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