Final call to save Swansea Coastguards
THERE are just a few days left to join the protest against plans to close Swansea Coastguard station.
The government proposal has brought fears for sea and coastal safety across North Devon as well as in South Wales and Torridge District Council is among those who have already added their names to the protest.
The Save Swansea Coastguard campaign plans to take its petition to Downing Street on Monday (September 12) and has set itself a target of 100,000 names. So far it has reached 80,000.
People are being urged to add their names to the list by going to the website www.saveswanseacoastguard.co.uk.
As part of a review announced by the UK government, the Swansea station is due to close by 2015.
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There are fears this could put lives at risk, not only off the Swansea coastline, but also across the whole of the Bristol Channel, as the station is responsible for co-ordinating search and rescue at sea and on the cliffs and coastlines of the entire Bristol Channel, including North Devon.
Torridge District Council has already backed a call by Hartland and Bradworthy councillor Brian Redwood to add its official protest and also to promote its objection as widely as possible and encourage communities to respond to the internet petition.
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In a presentation to the council, Cllr Redwood said Swansea was the second busiest coastguard station in the UK and its loss would deprive most of South Wales and the West Country of men with local knowledge of the Bristol Channel and River Severn estuary, which could delay rescue attempts.
In addition to the loss of local knowledge and potential delays, he pointed to increased shipping movements likely with the coming of the Atlantic Array wind farm, potential cutbacks to Chivenor Search and Rescue, the amount of public concern and possible reduction in ability to monitor pollution incidents.
When Hartland Coastguard Station was closed in 1989 one of the justifications was the proximity of Swansea, he said.