On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden 6:30am - 10am
Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset today appealed for members of the public to sign the e-petition to save the Portland Coastguard helicopter.
The Search and Rescue helicopter is scheduled to be axed due to budget cuts in 2017.
Richard Drax said:
"Just 100,000 signatures on an e-petition significantly raise the chances of a debate in the House. We must ensure that we do not lose a precious resource like our helicopter, to which so many people owe their lives, without a very grave and public assessment of the consequences.
"I have been told by the Secretary of State that no consultation was undertaken over getting rid of our helicopter because the service was being 'improved'. She has assured me that 10 newer, faster helicopters can do the job previously done by 12. That is debatable. No helicopter can be in two places at once, no matter how fast it is.
"Even the consultants asked to validate the Department of Transport's report said that there were flaws in the analysis. The very least we can do is to make sure that such a drastic move is discussed properly, in the House, by those who have their constituents' interests at heart.
"The savings to the government are negligible; the Portland helicopter costs between £4m and £5m a year. It is estimated that one road crash death costs the public purse £2m. At that rate, with only two lives saved a year, the Portland helicopter is paying for itself.
"Swimmers, sailors, divers, fishermen, walkers, holidaymakers - in fact, anyone at all who appreciates and uses our glorious coastline should sign this petition to save our helicopter."
The e-petition, which closes on August 23rd, 2012, can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/30225