Search and Rescue Cover Cut
The Search and Rescue service based at RMB Chivenor will provide cover for 12 hours during the day in future, rather than the round-the-clock cover it provides at the moment.
The announcement comes as the Government's named the Soteria Consortium as its preferred bidder, as it looks to hand over the running of search and rescue helicopters and teams across the country to a private-finance contract.
From 2012, new helicopters will be brought in to replace the existing yellow fleet. The MoD say these helicopters have a longer range and are faster.
They believe, as a result, neighbouring bases will be able to provide cover in our area for 12 hours each night.
But local campaigners who have been fighting to keep the 24-hour cover are disappointed with the news.
Bob Thompson, who has been involved in the campaign, said: "The facts have not changed and they seem to have become victims of their own mythology, without assessing properly the impact that these changes are going to have."
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Tell us what you think - Do you want to keep the 24 hour cover? Or will the new helicopters be good enough? Fill in the form below.
Claudia says: "We need to keep the 24 hour cover! With so much coastline and isolated rural areas the more quick response support we have the better. Apart from the obvious human benefit, surely it would save the 'authorities' loads of money having the quickest, most efficient and effective and most widely available, ie 24 hour, service possible???
And what about the service being privatised as per the local ITV news report of a couple of late nights ago? This doesn't seem to be being mentioned ...!" (11/02/2010)
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