Gilbert slams coastguard threat

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The MP for St Austell & Newquay, Stephen Gilbert, spoke out against the potential cut in Coastguard services affecting Cornwall in a Parliamentary debate yesterday.

The Government is currently consulting over a reduction in the number of Coastguard control centres from 18 to three with five sub centres operating during daylight hours only.

This would see the closure of the Brixham Control Centre and the downgrading of Falmouth, having an impact on both the north and south coasts of the MP’s constituency.

In the debate, he said: “My constituency’s north coast is protected by services from Brixham, while its south coast is protected by services from Falmouth, so there is every danger that we will suffer a double whammy.

“My intention is to press the Minister for assurances that that will not happen, and that he will always put the safety of those who use the sea before any other consideration.

“Falmouth is already a centre of excellence for what it does; it is the place the rest of the world looks to learn how to do such things. It concerns me greatly that the Government choose, outside of anything mentioned in the coalition agreement, to consider the reforms.

“We must remember that we are an island nation and need the sea. It behoves us in this House to protect those who use it.”

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