- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM will be leading a debate in the Senedd on Wednesday (2 February). The title of the debate is Rescuing the rescuers – the future of coastguard provision in Wales.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Labour’s Rural Affairs spokesperson Mrs Watson (Mid and West Wales) said:
“I called for this debate because it is vital that Wales’ voice is heard before the consultation on these proposals closes in March.
“The concern for everybody is that these proposals will cause a delay in call-out times and lives will be lost as a result, especially because plans to sell-off search and rescue helicopters and reduce the services available from RAF stations like Chivenor will mean the rescue response along the Welsh coast could be even further compromised.
“The UK Government claims that response times will not be affected, but where is the proof? I wrote to the Secretary of State to request a copy of the impact assessment but all I received was the same unsubstantiated ‘assurance’.
“Until Wales gets a better answer, it will look to many people like the Tory-led Government is more interested in making another 243 people redundant than modernising the coastguard and saving lives.”
Last week Joyce raised her concerns with Assembly First Minister CARWYN JONES and he confirmed that he will be writing to the Secretary of State for Transport about this. He was concerned that it appears that the coastguard centre in Swansea will be expected to cover the whole Welsh coast.
Mrs Watson recently met Carl Evans, the Rescue and Coordination manager at the coastguard centre in Milford Haven.
In the last five years the Rescue Team in Milford has co-ordinated more than 3,500 emergency callouts and taken part in nearly 4,500 operations.
Last week Joyce jointly launched an Assembly statement of opinion with Alun Davies AM –
Opposes the Westminster government’s proposal to close Milford Haven and Holyhead coastguard stations
Is deeply concerned that this decision will put lives in danger
Regrets the prospect of job losses at the two stations
For more information contact Joyce Watson’s office on 02920 898972 or on www.joycewatson.co.uk.