Coastguard services could be saved

CONTROVERSIAL cuts to coastguard services in the Whitby area could be axed after Government officials scaled back proposals to close stations.

Huge fears were raised Humber Coastguard station, which serves the Whitby coastline, could be closed under plans to streamline the service.

Under Government proposals, 10 of the country’s 18 round-the-clock coastguard centres would close in an effort to reduce costs and modernise the service. Five remaining sites including Humber Coastguard would operate during daylight hours only, with the only 24-hour centre planned for the Aberdeen, Dover

and the Southampton and Portsmouth areas.

Currently, all 18 stations need to be fully staffed at all times to deal with emergency calls, as all stations are not linked nationally.

However, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he was now re-examining plans to cut the number of coastguard stations from 18 to five, though he failed to reveal which would be closing.

He 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 conclusions to Parliament before the summer recess.

“It’s not about a U-turn, it’s about deciding how best to implement what will be a very a big change in how the coastguard operates.”

The campaign to save frontline services attracted major support, with hundreds of residents signing petition forms.