Liverpool

Liverpool Coastguard's warning over closure plans

A Liverpool coastguard has warned that volunteers at his station could quit if the government carries out its planned programme of coastguard closures.

Brian George, whose station in Crosby could go if the government axes 10 out of 18 stations, also warned of "confusion" in emergencies.

Mr George, Liverpool branch chair of Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU) , said volunteers felt let down.

Shipping minister Mike Penning said he was listening to coastguard concerns.

Last week the government hinted it might scale down the original closure plan which would have seen more than half of the stations closed, leaving only three open on a 24-hour basis with operations focussed on two large Maritime Operations Centres.

Mr George told the Transport Committee that "a significant amount of local knowledge and know-how is going to disappear" if local stations are shut.

There was "uproar" among volunteers, a lot of whom "feel they are being let down", he told MPs.

When asked if the closures could drive out volunteers he responded, "most definitely".

And he warned that information about crisis situations could be "corrupted and lost" as it is passed from the local level to national centres, creating a "potential for confusion".

Mr Penning said: "The status quo is not an option, but the proposals going forward are not fixed in stone."

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