Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

MP calls for answers to justify Chivenor move

PUBLISHED: 15:50 08 January 2014 | UPDATED: 00:07 09 January 2014

Chivenor Sea King search and rescue helicopter.

Chivenor Sea King search and rescue helicopter.

Archant

Update: Bristow and MCA respond to Nick Harvey calls for contractor Bristow to provide promised analysis of keeping search and rescue service in North Devon.

NORTH Devon MP Nick Harvey has called for a private contractor to justify why search and rescue services are being removed from RMB Chivenor.

At a meeting with local representatives in October it was reported that helicopter company Bristow had agreed to look at the business case for keeping the service at Chivenor.

The company has been awarded the contract to run SAR services nationwide from April 2015, and the current plan is for the Chivenor flight is to be re-based at St Athan near Cardiff.

In a parliamentary question tabled yesterday (Tuesday) Mr Harvey asked the Department for Transport what had happened to the cost and viability analysis Bristow promised, as nothing had been heard since.

“SAR Chivenor has been at the heart of the community for decades, so understandably there is great anxiety at seeing it go,” he said.

“Local people deserve to know exactly what the perceived advantage is from moving the base to St Athan. It’s quite surprising Bristow didn’t undertake such analysis before making the decision.

“But having agreed to undertake the work retrospectively they must now come back with a robust analysis as soon as possible.”

Last autumn’s private meeting at the Civic Centre in Barnstaple saw representatives from the company meet with Mr Harvey, North Devon Council Leader Brian Greenslade and NDC chief executive Mike Mansell as well as leading senior councillors.

Bristow and the Department of Transport have argued the new faster Augusta Westland AW-192 helicopters proposed to replace the aging Sea Kings would mean no loss in service despite the move to South Wales.

But locally it is feared lives could be lost due to North Devon’s remoteness and difficult terrain, with calls for at least one aircraft to be based at Chivenor during daylight hours or busy periods.

In a joint statement, Bristow Helicopters and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We have offered to present an analysis of the incidents currently handled by the Chivenor helicopter and the response times under the new arrangements. We will make that information available to the council as soon as possible.

“Bristow and the MCA have been and remain open to engaging with the local council and the community on how the new service will operate in North Devon, and are due to discuss the new arrangements with our SAR operational partners in North Devon next week.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 14:51

Pictures from the colourful parade through Bideford to celebrate the first Pride and Diversity Festival in North Devon.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:28

The Voice has opened a brand new studio in Barnstaple - take a look at our timeline of the history of The Voice, and watch the video from the opening event here.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:07

Ilfracombe lifeboat crews came to the rescue of Oscar the spaniel after he fell 40 feet off a cliff near Woolacombe.

Read more
Sunday, July 23, 2017

Three people have been injured in a car crash on the A39 today (Sunday).

Read more
Sunday, July 23, 2017

Firefighters were called to reports of an oven fire at a golf club today (Sunday).

Read more
Sunday, July 23, 2017

The police are appealing for witnesses following a string of vehicle break ins this weekend.

Read more
Saturday, July 22, 2017

The MetOffice has issued a yellow weather warning for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms across North Devon today (Saturday).

Read more
Saturday, July 22, 2017

Want to help beat cancer? Join the Relay For Life event at Barnstaple Rugby Club today (Saturday) and right through the night until Sunday lunchtime

Read more
Saturday, July 22, 2017

Take a look at the super pictures our iwitness24 photographers have been capturing this week.

Read more
Saturday, July 22, 2017

Five days of Chulmleigh Old Fair 2017 from Tuesday, July 25 to Sunday, July 30

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications