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

15:50 08 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.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

11:12
Cats Protection volunteers with the new van. Picture: submitted

Generous supporters help fund new van for re-homing charity

Read more
Visit South Molton Vintage Rally this weekend (June 4 and 5)

See more than 300 vintage vehicles and machinery at Combsland Cross this weekend.

Read more
08:00
This is a rare opportunity to visit Plaz Metaxu near Witheridge.

The unusual garden at Coombe House will be open to the public next Sunday for a one-off charity event.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:46
Saunton Beach will be packed with wartime vehicles on Friday and Saturday, June 3-4 to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day

Don’t miss Devon D-Day on Friday and Saturday, June 3-4.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
What's on in North Devon this week?

This year’s annual Braunton Village Fair will celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Read more
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Jacqui and Ben, the two winners.

Former runner up is crowned chef of the year in North Devon competition at Petroc.

Read more
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Fire fighters will be walking around various fire stations in North Devon for Children's Hospice South West.

The group of fire fighters will be walking from Okehampton fire station to Lynton fire station over 24 hours, in full kit and breathing apparatus.

Read more
Saturday, May 28, 2016
The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is bidding for a £1.6million extension. Picture: Andy Keeble

Members of the public asked to give their opinions on plans for a £1.8million extension of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

Read more
Friday, May 27, 2016
Staff at Caen Medical Centre in Braunton celebrate receiving a rating for outstanding

Inspectors full of praise for local GP surgery and how it works with the community

Read more
Friday, May 27, 2016
The new riverside walkway has opened at Anchorwood Bank in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Members of walking group take a stroll with dignitaries as footpath opens

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

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

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications