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

11:07

The Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple is closed today (Monday) due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’

Read more

Work is still set to go ahead to build news homes at the former Torrington Creamery, once legal agreements have been signed.

Read more

Crews from Barnstaple and Braunton helped ambulance crews access a patient after they spotted smoke coming from the kitchen.

Read more
Saturday, January 21, 2017

More than 200 people took part in the Womens March in Barnstaple this afternoon (Saturday) in protest of newly-elected president Donald Trump

Read more
Saturday, January 21, 2017

Centenarian Doris Covington is joined by family and friends to mark her 100th at Tyspane Care Home

Read more
Saturday, January 21, 2017

Gardens will be open in the coming weeks in and around North Devon to give people the chance of enjoying this winter gem

Read more
Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Arklow Resolve ship from Holland has landed thousands of tons of stone chippings at Yelland

Read more
Friday, January 20, 2017

North Devon gets three out of the seven South West Coastal Community initiatives announced today (Friday)

Read more
Friday, January 20, 2017

The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington has launched a crowdfunding campaign for new lights, a lift and a disabled toilet.

Read more
Friday, January 20, 2017

Developers have withdrawn controversial plans for 199 new homes in Northam after hundreds of objections were raised.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 1°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

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications