- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
There are growing concerns about the ‘disgraceful proposals’ to close the coastguard centre in Milford Haven.
At the Senedd on Tuesday AM Joyce Watson asked First Minister Carwyn Jones if he shared her ‘deep disappointment’ over the plans.
Mr Jones said the proposals were worrying, as it appeared that the Swansea coastguard centre would be expected to cover the entire Welsh coast.
“The worry has to be that call out times will be delayed,” he said.
AM Joyce Watson held a meeting with Carl Evans, the rescue and coordination manager at the Milford Haven centre, last week.
Figures from the Milford Haven centre show that in the last five years the rescue team there has co-ordinated more than 3,500 emergency callouts and taken part in nearly 4,500 operations.
Mrs Watson said: “We cannot afford to lose 23 personnel who possess exceptional life-saving knowledge of the Pembrokeshire and west Wales coast.”
Mrs Watson also jointly launched an Assembly statement of opinion with Alun Davies AM, asking other AMs to back the message that the Assembly opposes the proposals to close Milford Haven and Holyhead coastguard stations and is deeply concerned that this decision will put lives in danger.
Mr Davies said: “The decision to close the Coastguard station at Milford Haven, Holyhead and a downgrading of the Mumbles to a daylight service beggars belief. “It is hugely important that these services are maintained so that the safest service can be provided.
AM Nerys Evans described the plans as disgraceful.
She said: “We remain extremely concerned that if these proposals are bulldozed through by the Conservative-led Government in Westminster then our coastline in west Wales will be left exposed to cover that will lack local knowledge.
“It is beyond belief to think that during the night time any incidents will be dealt with from Southampton and that vital extra information that can only come from a detailed knowledge of the area will be lost.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb said after initial skepticism over the plans, he now believes, after talks with ministers, officials, the port authority and coastguards, that it will create a true national coastguard network, taking advantage of the massive progress in new technology.
Mr Crabb said: “The frontline rescue service will actually see more resources going into it so I am reassured that the safety of the coastline will not be undermined.
“What will change is the way that calls are handled and managed.”
However, Mr Crabb said the 23 jobs under threat at the Milford Haven centre was ‘hugely disappointing.’ “I will be using the current consultation period to make the case for Milford Haven,” he added.
Plaid Assembly candidate Rhys Sinnett said a true community campaign was needed to ensure the coastguard centre was saved and urged people to register their opposition to the plans.
Mr Sinnett added: “I will be putting a Notice of Motion to Pembrokeshire County Council so that we can get the backing of locally elected county councillors and I urge all town and community councils in the area to make their voice heard.”