Norfolk County Council to lobby government to try to save Great Yarmouth coastguard
Norfolk County Council is to lobby the government to reverse its decision to close the coastguard station at Great Yarmouth because of fears a loss of local knowledge could cost lives.
The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, based at Havenbridge House, is to close as part of government plans to reduce the number of centres in the UK from 19 to 11.
That will mean emergencies will be handled by control centre staff as far away as Humberside or Southampton.
But, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's full council yesterday, it was agreed that County Hall would call on the government to think again, following a motion put by Paul Rice, Conservative county councillor for South Smallburgh and a former coastguard rescue officer.
He said: 'A core role of this council is to speak up for the people of Norfolk on matters crucial to the wellbeing of this county.
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'In this case, the county council believes the maxim that 'local knowledge saves lives' has been demonstrated time and time again across our coastline.
'This council must work hard to retain local knowledge within Norfolk and thus safeguard the wellbeing of our residents and those who work off our shores.'
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Colleen Walker, Labour county councillor for Gorleston's Magdalen ward, welcomed the motion.
She said: 'We feel this would cost more lives and put the safety of British waters on our coastline in severe jeopardy.
'Let us hope and pray that for the tiny savings they are making this will not cost us a life.'
Tom Garrod, Conservative county councillor for Yarmouth North and Central Division and a volunteer crew member of Caister lifeboat, said: 'It is vital for our crew to have someone on the end of the radio who knows about the current situation.'
Richard Howitt, the Norfolk and Suffolk Euro MP, has led a campaign against the closure, warning that the decision would lead to a disaster.
The Yarmouth station is set to close at an unspecified date between now and March 2015.