Anger Over Coastguard Decision

15 July 2011, 08:35 | Updated: 15 July 2011, 08:38

Norfolk and Suffolk Euro MP Richard Howitt has reacted with fury to yesterday's announcement today that the Government confirms it's decision to close Great Yarmouth coastguard station and says sweeping away local knowledge in an instance will mean the Government will have lost lives on their conscience.

Richard Howitt MEP who helped lead the campaign to save the station says the Government has broken its promise to consult in good faith and to listen to the arguments put forward to save the coastguard.
The further consultation period announced means the campaign must go on, Richard Howitt MEP said.
The Euro MP is saying the decision shows scant regard for public safety in an area vital for seaside tourism, with shipping movements due to Eastport and the growing off-shore wind energy sector.
Labour's Richard Howitt MEP who met local coastguards at the Yarmouth station and made formal representations as part of the consultation said immediately after the decision was announced:
"This decision is a bitter blow to local campaigners who took part in the consultation in good faith, and who have seen every one of our arguments rejected.
"Our campaign was top notch and I can't fathom why other coastguards have been thrown a lifeline but Yarmouth will shut.
"In my meetings with coastguards I was convinced that their local knowledge helped save lives. If your boat runs aground on rocks, you slip down a cliff or swept out to sea, you want to know local help is at hand.
"With the summer holidays just around the corner and families going for seaside holidays it is outrageous that some cover for our beaches will be provided by coastguards based in Southampton."

The decision has been made as part of Government cutbacks and there will now be a consultation period in October. The centre at Yarmouth will close by 2014.

Originally the government proposed cutting 19 centres across the country down to 8 - with just three remaining open 24 hours a day.

However,  the Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced yesterday that 11 will be kept and they'll all be operational round the clock.