MP responds to coastguard modernisation announcement

Responding to the Government's decision on coastguard modernisation, Peter Aldous raises concerns at the loss of local knowledge of the broads and asks if a local station could be operated on a seasonal basis.

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): I commend the Minister for the comprehensive and sympathetic way in which he has gone about his further consultation. I acknowledge that one of the paired stations will remain open on a 24/7 basis, but I am concerned that on the east coast it is not the one at Yarmouth, but the one on Humberside. My concern focuses on the broads and the myriad internal waterways. Concern has been expressed to me by the Broads Authority and the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association that local knowledge cannot be provided from the Humberside. Will my hon. Friend consider a station operated on a seasonal basis, much the same as for the Thames, to deal with that area?

Mike Penning: I fully understand my hon. Friend’s concerns. If I went down that avenue, I would open up a Pandora’s box and my Secretary of State would shoot me. I have holidayed nearly every year for the past 30 years on the Norfolk broads, especially across Breydon water. I understand the concerns, but I think the cover will be resilient enough. I hope people from Yarmouth transfer to the Humber. The new career and pay structures will make it much more worth while than was ever the case in the past, but I understand my hon. Friend’s concerns.

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