England

Falmouth and Brixham coastguards welcome safety report

Falmouth coastguard station officers
Image caption The final proposals are published in the summer

Falmouth and Brixham coastguards have welcomed a report that suggested plans to close some coastguard centres raised "serious safety concerns".

Government plans suggested Brixham should close and Falmouth should operate in daylight hours only.

But the Commons transport committee said the plans lacked support and would lead to a loss of local knowledge.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said change was needed but safety concerns must be addressed.

Brixham coastguard Les Jenkin said: "Hopefully the ministers will look at the report and the responses from the public and other maritime agencies and come up with a better set of proposals."

South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray, whose husband died in a fishing accident in March, said: "When Neil lost his life Mr Cameron said there wouldn't be any reorganisation of coastguard stations unless it improved front-line services.

"I think this report shows there are real concerns that the current consultation could affect front-line services."

Cornwall Council's maritime manager Andy Brigden said: "We've been lobbying hard for 24-hour cover at Falmouth."

Mr Brigden added that costs needed to be cut but cover should remain.

Under the government's plans the 24-hour cover would come from centralised stations elsewhere in the UK.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the service was in urgent need of modernisation.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency head Sir Alan Massey said change was needed but safety concerns must be addressed.

The final proposals will be published in the summer.

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