Key decision will help decide if air ambulance can fly from Norwich at night
PUBLISHED: 17:05 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:19 11 November 2019
Hundreds more lives could be saved if the region's air ambulance is allowed to fly at night - and city councillors will this week take a crucial decision which could help it happen.
The East Anglian Air Ambulance provides expert emergency medical care to people with life-threatening and life-changing injuries.
Its Anglia One helicopter flies from Norwich Airport. But there is currently a gap from 7pm until 7am when it is not able to take to the air from Norwich. Anglia Two can only fly from Cambridge until midnight, so there is a seven hour gap across the region.
The charity, which receives no regular government funding, needs to raise £1m a year so the helicopter can fly at night, but it also needs to make changes to its base at the airport.
Norwich City Council's planning committee will meet on Thursday to decide whether to grant permission for the revamped base.
Although there have been two objections from people living nearby concerned about noise at night, officers are recommending approval, saying noise mitigation measures are "appropriate".
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Matthew Jones, director of operations at East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: "We've been working on the plans to expand and renovate our Norwich base for a long time, as this is crucial in enabling us to realise our ambition of being operational by helicopter for 24 hours a day.
"The planning meeting will be a very important milestone for us which we eagerly await.
"Currently, we do provide 24/7 medical care, however the night shift crew is only available by rapid response vehicle.
"Enlarging our base, with better rest and welfare facilities for the crew, will enable us to become the first air ambulance in the East of England to fly 24/7, which means we could help hundreds more patients a year.
"We're confident that flying at night from Norwich will make a huge difference in those critical circumstances where we're needed."
Mr Jones added: "We have been humbled by the way the community has supported our Mission 24/7 campaign so far and are confident that, thanks to our wonderful supporters, we will be able to achieve this goal and save more lives."
To make a donation to support Mission 24/7, go to www.mission247.co.uk