Published: November 23, 2011
Concerns for safety after Swansea Coastguard Station closure

The government has this week confirmed the closure of Swansea coastguard station, which co-ordinates beach rescues in the Burnham-On-Sea area.

Transport Minister Mike Penning said the station, which employs 28, will close by March 2015, as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said he was "dismayed" by a decision which would potentially put lives at risk, while campaigners fighting the closure said they would seek advice about a judicial review.

BARB (Burnham Area Rescue Boat) has also expressed its concerns about the closure of the regional co-ordinating centre.

A spokesman said: "BARB is opposed to any reduction in Coastguard service that leads to the loss of crucial local knowledge in this part of the Bristol Channel estuary. We fear that that moving the regional co-ordinating station from Swansea to Milford Haven - some 60 miles further away from Somerset - will lead to more pressure being placed on local crews like BARB's during rescue situations."

Cllr Joe Leach told on Wednesday: "It isn't just about whether it will have a direct impact on Burnham, but it is also about it being the thin end of the wedge - how long until the Government pulls the plug on all paid coastguard institutions and leaves the entire network reliant on volunteers?"

"We all appreciate the work volunteers do in their capacity of ensuring our coastline is safe, but we cannot expect them to run this entire operation without support. I hope that this is all we see of the closures, but the loss of Swansea can only be a bad thing overall."

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