I want to tell you about a letter I have received from Transport Minister Stephen Hammond about Great Yarmouth Coastguard.
As many of you may already know, from 1st March Great Yarmouth Coastguard will be converted to daytime-only operations. This decision has been taken as staffing levels at Great Yarmouth MRCC have fallen below the level required to maintain existing twenty-four hour operations.
I want to make very clear, however, that this will not mean that there is any change in the amount of cover available for our coast. Two coastguards will be transferred to Humber MRCC, which will provide the centre with the necessary staffing levels to meet the additional demands of Great Yarmouth’s night-time operations.
This arrangement will act as the start of the transition to 1st May when Great Yarmouth MRCC closes entirely. Between now and then there will be robust testing to ensure that Humber MRCC is able to provide the same high level of rescue resources that the area currently has. This system was successfully carried out in the closure of Clyde MRCC last month and I am confident that it will be successful here too.
I want to make very clear that, despite the changes, there will be no impact whatsoever in the availability of lifeboats, rescue helicopters, volunteer Coastguard Rescue Teams or other rescue facilities on our coastline. Any staff who wish to remain in HM Coastguard will be offered employment opportunities and I will monitor the situation closely to ensure that all staff are treated fairly.
As ever, if any of you have concerns about the changes to Great Yarmouth MRCC they can contact me:
By post: Sussex Road Business Centre, Sussex Road, Gorleston, NR31 6PF
By telephone: 01493 652 928
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org