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Campaign launched to save Yarmouth coastguard

PUBLISHED: 10:42 09 September 2011 | UPDATED: 10:45 09 September 2011

Watch manager at Search and Rescue Mission Control, Christina Martyn at Maritime Rescue Co - ordination Centre, Havenbridge House, Yarmouth.
For : EDP Norfolk Magazine
Photo : Steve Adams
Copy : Sarah Cassells
Copyright Archant Norfolk

Watch manager at Search and Rescue Mission Control, Christina Martyn at Maritime Rescue Co - ordination Centre, Havenbridge House, Yarmouth. For : EDP Norfolk Magazine Photo : Steve Adams Copy : Sarah Cassells Copyright Archant Norfolk

MORE than 160 people have thrown their weight behind a campaign to prevent Yarmouth’s coastguard control room from closing.

Paul Rice, a county councillor for the South Smallburgh division, launched a government e-petition to try and save the coastguard station, which has been earmarked for closure between 2012 and 2014/15.

As well as the online e-petition, a further 100 people have signed paper petitions.

Mr Rice said: “I don’t think a lot of people realise Yarmouth coastguard station is responsible for the Norfolk coast and the Norfolk Broads area.

“I would urge people to sign the e-petition to keep it open.”

The councillor has less than a month to make his voice heard before the consultation period finishes on October 6. The proposed cuts by transport secretary Philip Hammond will see eight stations closing across England, Scotland and Wales.

In a statement published on the government e-petition website, Mr Rice writes: “The government has granted Local Enterprise Partnership zones to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft specifically to the harbour areas. This should increase marine related industry along the East of England coast and therefore increase marine traffic.

“Recent permission has been granted for the transfer of oil from ship to ship off this coastline.

“The number of deaths on the 
Broads already this year numbers four. 
“The Government intends to close the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) run by the Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) at Great Yarmouth. The MRCC is staffed by MCA Coastguards who know both the coastal waters and the Broads intimately. We, the undersigned believe that local knowledge saves lives and call upon this Government to reconsider this decision and to retain some form of MRCC capability in Great Yarmouth.”

Up to 30 people will lose their jobs in Yarmouth at Havenbridge House.

It is believed the Norfolk coastline and Broads would be covered by coastguard stations in Southampton, Bridlington in Yorkshire and Dover.

The Yarmouth coastguard staff provide coverage as far north as Haile Sand Fort in Lincolnshire to Southwold.

Stations set to close are in Crosby, Clyde, Forth, Portland, Yarmouth, Brixham, Thames and Swansea. Falmouth, Holyhead, Milford Haven, Belfast, Aberdeen, Humber, Stornaway and Shetland will remain and a small station in London retained.

To sign the hard copy petition, contact Paul Rice on 07920286622 or email paul.rice@norfolk.gov.uk

To sign the e-petition, log on to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/14027


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