The government is set to slash the number of coastguard stations from 18 to eight in supposed cost saving cuts placing local communities at risk. Of these only three will be operational around the clock, the other five will only operate in daylight hours and a quick response during the hours of darkness will become a challenge. All areas of the UK’s long and varied coastline will be impacted by this proposal.
The suggested reorganization of the service, who those living in coastal areas call the fourth emergency service, will severely affect the ability of the coastguard to respond quickly to incidents with local knowledge. Preventing the loss of life or an environmental calamity relies on a quick, knowledgeable response coordinated by local coastguard stations who know the intricacies of an area first hand. Decision making times will undoubtedly slow and the window for catastrophe will increase under the proposed new regime.
A KIMO UK coordinator Tom Piper said “We feel the cuts are purely being made on a cost basis and have nothing to do with modernisation. How else would you explain cutting more that fifty percent of our emergency response coordination capabilities at a time when our seas are getting busier and busier?
KIMO UK Chair Cllr Norman MacDonald stated “It is outrageous that the government are proposing such drastic cuts to an excellent service that works so well. The cumulative effects on marine safety and pollution of these proposed cuts, the removal of the Emergency Towing Vessels from service and the proposed removal of the Nimrod fleet does not bear thinking about.”
KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation) is an association of coastal local authorities whose goal is to eliminate pollution from the Northern Seas