Have Your Say On Coastguard Stations

There's a chance to have your say later on plans for big changes to the 18 coastguard stations round the country.

Bosses want to close 10 of them in the next four years - and have one big centre on the south coast, one in the north and six smaller ones scattered across the UK.

They say it'll make the service more efficient.

Tom Elder from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency says it'll also mean the current centres in Dorset and Hampshire closing:

"There will be a new maritime operation centre somewhere in the Southampton/Portsmouth area although the exact location hasn't been decide. Because of this, the centres at Lee-on-Solent and on Portland will be fazed out and staff transferred."

The closures will mean around 240 jobs going over the next four years.

"We're not trying to save money here, where trying to make the service more effective and efficient for the future. Any money we do save over the coming years we're hoping to put back into the organisation."

In response to concerns that fewer centres might put more lives at risk, Mr. Elder added:

"We've done some exercises to imagine the worst day in the history of the coastguards and the events which could unfold, and this has shown that the new system would be able to cope with that."

The first meeting was hekld in Gosport on 1st March, but there will also be another one in Weymouth next Tuesday (8th March).

It also starts at 7.30pm and will take place at:

All Saints Church of England School

Sunnyside Road

Wyke Regis

Weymouth

Dorset, DT49BJ

The proposals for Coastguard modernisation, together with the consultation documents, can be found on the MCA website at www.mcga.gov.uk and www.dft.gov.uk.

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