England

Portland coastguard station campaigners in No 10 petition

Campaigners march to 10 Downing Street with their petition
Image caption Campaigners marched to 10 Downing Street to deliver their petition

A 22,000 signature petition to create a new coastguard station in Dorset has been delivered to No 10 Downing Street.

The government plans to close rescue centres in Portland and Lee-on-Solent and create a coastguard centre in Southampton or Portsmouth.

Dorset campaigners want the new super centre to be based in Weymouth.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced in July that eight of the UK's coastguard stations would close as part of a programme of modernisation.

A 12-week consultation is taking place over the plans which will end on 6 October.

Sailing events

It is proposed a national coastguard system with two maritime operations centres - one in the Southampton or Portsmouth area and one in Aberdeen, should be created.

There would also be a 24-hour centre at Dover and five daytime only centres.

Ten 24-hour centres would remain in the UK, but eight would shut, including Portland, Clyde, Forth, Liverpool, Yarmouth, Brixham, Thames and Swansea.

Richard Drax, Conservative MP for South Dorset, will be debating the issue in the House of Commons next month.

Portland coastguard operators have said they would like the new proposed maritime operations centre to be located in the Weymouth area rather than Hampshire.

Weymouth and Portland are hosting the sailing events at the 2012 London Olympics.

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