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

Yesterday, 16:40
Police have cordoned off the area around Coopers Jewellery after an apparent robbery attempt.

Barnstaple flooded with police hunting a man who allegedly tried to rob Coopers Jewellery...

Read more
Yesterday, 16:03
Training with the new £1m launcher for the Shannon class lifeboat in Ilfracombe harbour. Heading down the slipway.

Ilfracombe’s new £1million lifeboat launching carriage has made history by becoming the first ever to launch the new Shannon lifeboat in a UK harbour.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:02
Petroc University Centre

Find out more about studying for a degree at Petroc in Barnstaple with open event.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:59
Mark Berry in Putsborough. Picture from www.facebook.com/CALMSWCPchallenge

Mark Berry, 53, is on track to break the current world record for the 630-mile run today (Thursday).

Read more
Yesterday, 08:30
Kirsty Robb outside of Crumb Creations which opens this weekend. Picture: Sarah Howells

Kirsty Robb, 25, from Braunton is making her dream become a reality by opening new shop in Queen’s Walk this Friday.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:29
The emperor moth. Picture: Patrick Clement/Butterfly Conservation

Have you seen an emperor moth or green hairstreak butterfly lately...?

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
Bideford Bike Show

This Saturday Bideford Bike Show hopes to see more than 1,500 lining up along the Quay to raise money for three local charities.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:29
Council staff will have left the Civic Centre by the end of June

Local groups who can use office furniture and equipment invited to get in touch

Read more
Wed, 17:21
The former RAF watchtower at Winkleigh is up for sale.

Parts of historic World War Two fighter station up for sale on June 17

Read more
Wed, 17:16
The Mayor, Val Elkins, conducts the official opening of the new RGP Architects building.

Local architects transform a former derelict building into something rather eye-catching...

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life
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
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



North Devon's trusted business finder