Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Proposals put forward by the UK Westminster government mean that large areas of the Welsh coastline will be given little or no local emergency cover at night. If nothing else this is the Con Dem's recklessly putting money above lives and potentially putting lives at risk.

The UK Government plans mean that there will be no Welsh cover at night, as incidents will be dealt with from Southampton. Over centralisation of the coastguard means that there will be problems with identifying where incidents are taking place, already the over centralised ambulance service has had problems telling Newport (Pembs) from Newport (Gwent) and that is within Wales, heaven help any mariners in distress once its all run from Southampton, where first-hand familiarity with local Welsh coastal geography will be pretty thin on the ground.

This is madness and is completely inadequate, reckless and dangerous and a foolish cost cutting exercise. Only fifteen years ago there was the Sea Empress disaster, when 72,000 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea, and polluted more than 200k of our beautiful coastline. Milford Haven waterway is one of the largest concentrations of petro-chemical installations in the UK, and the third largest Port in the UK, despite this the Tory Government is considering shutting the local coast guard station (amongst others).

The Tories and and their willing Lib Dem partners are putting Welsh lives in danger, not to mention the lives of potential mariners. This much needed public service can be best run in Wales, so Plaid is calling rightly for a consultation on the idea of devolving the responsibility and money for maintaining this service, for the benefit of the people of Wales.

Plaid Cymru wants to see a consultation to seek the views of the people affected by these Westminster cuts. If the Tories and Lib Dems have no interest in the future of the coastguard services, and it is clear from their plans that they do not, perhaps it would be better to place it under the responsibility of the Welsh government with a fair funding deal to make sure people are safe along Welsh shorelines.

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