Proposals scaled back but still significant

At lunchtime today, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond told the House of Commons the scale of cuts to the coastguard service.

After extensive consultation following their original proposals, the extent of the cutbacks has been modified, but eight coastguard stations are still to be lost.

Eleven will stay, all operating on a 24-hour basis rather than the majority being part-time, as had originally been intended.

The UK’s Maritime Operations Centre will be sited between Southampton and Portsmouth.

A disaster recovery backup facility will be located at Dover, which will also act as a coastguard subcentre.

Further stations to stay are Falmouth in Cornwall, Milford Haven and Holyhead in Wales, Belfast for Northern Ireland, Stornoway in the Western Isles, Shetland, and Aberdeen on Scotland’s East Coast, Humber, and a smaller-scale station in London itself.

Stations getting the axe are Portland in Dorset, Swansea in Wales, Liverpool, Clyde and Forth in Scotland, Great Yarmouth and the Thames station in Essex.

The minister said that the second stage of the consultation, which was mooted in June, will solely be to discuss parts of the proposals that differ from the original. Decisions now made will not be further reappraised.