England

Brixham coastguard site may close

Brixham
Image caption Devon councillors say they will oppose any move to close the station in Brixham

Brixham's coastguard station may close as part of a national reorganisation of the service, the government says.

It is part of moves to reduce 18 stations across the UK to eight, with only three staying open for 24 hours.

Dorset's Portland station is also under threat. Falmouth station in Cornwall faces being reduced to operating only in daylight hours as a sub-centre.

A 14-week consultation is being held as part of the programme. Unions have criticised the plans.

Cutting the number of control centres was intended to modernise the service and save money, the government said.

The British service will have just three major operations centres in Aberdeen, Dover and Solent.

'No sense'

Falmouth would be one of five so called "sub-centres" open only during daylight hours, along with Humber and Swansea. Two others are yet to be decided.

Any change in cover has raised concerns that local knowledge would be lost if operations moved elsewhere in the country.

Rick Smith of Brixham Trawler Agents said: "At best they would have to go and get out a chart.

"It would delay any rescue that needed immediate attention."

The move has also been criticised by members of Devon County Council.

The Conservative-led council's Liberal Democrat opposition leader, Brain Greenslade, said any move to close the Devon station was "something that I don't think we can really accept".

He said: "I hope that we'll be able to put forward a really strong case to the government during the consultation period that they really do need to go back to drawing board on Brixham.

"I don't think it makes any sense whatsoever."

Any cuts to stations must not put lives at risk and staff must not be forced out of the service, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said.

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