expresses fears about Swansea Coastguard plans
MP has this week expressed concerns about government plans to
close Swansea Coastguard station - which oversees rescues along
MP Tessa Munt raised her fears during a debate about the proposed
closure in the House of Commons on Monday evening (September 12th)
attended by Minister Michael Penning, who is Parliamentary Under
Secretary of State for Transport.
Tessa told him: "I want to draw the Ministers attention
to my constituency, where we have Brean, which is a holiday destination,
Berrow, and Burnham-On-Sea. Burnham is unique - it has peculiar
tides and very swift and difficult changes on the mudflats, where
any number of people and vehicles will become stranded over the
"I have visited the volunteers who make up the local crews
for Burnham Coastguard and the Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB)."
"They have such a hard job to do, and they are very alarmed,
as are local people, about the closure of Swansea, which would
leave us in Somerset looking to Milford Haven, which is 60 miles
to the west."
Her comments come after a review was announced by the government
earlier this year, when the Swansea station was earmarked to close
There are fears this could put lives at risk in the Burnham-On-Sea
area since the station is responsible for co-ordinating searches
and rescues at sea, on cliffs and on beaches.
However, Burnham Coastguard Officer Steve Bird told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"We have not issued any comments regarding the proposals
for Swansea Coastguard Station."
Speaking during Monday's debate, Labour MP Martin Carton said:
"In the original consultation document on the reform plans,
it was proposed to retain Swansea coastguard, albeit on a daylight
hours basis, and close Milford Haven. Then, in July, the Secretary
of State for Transport reversed that recommendation in his statement
on coastguard modernisation. I do not know whether the Minister
has any idea of the alarm and outrage that have been aroused in
the Swansea area and spread around the south Wales coast and down
the other side of the Bristol channel as a result of the statement."
Minister MP Michael Penning responded: "I have to emphasise
to the public that these are co-ordination centres, not the places
where the people who physically carry out the rescues are based.
I think there has been some confusion about that around the country.
The volunteers are certainly not touched by this; in fact, their
roles will be enhanced and there will be more equipment and more
people to facilitate the work that they do."