RNLI to leave Birnbeck Pier due to danger to crews

Walkway from Birnbeck Island across pier
Image caption The RNLI said the pier was too dangerous for crews to cross

The RNLI has said it is to leave a base at the end of a derelict Victorian pier in Weston-super-Mare after 131 years.

The move is due to the deterioration of the 400m (440yds) pier which crews use to reach lifeboats on Birnbeck Island.

An inshore lifeboat will be temporarily based at Knightstone Harbour while a new base is found.

A RNLI spokesman said the lifeboats on Birnbeck would now only launch if there was a known risk to life which could not be covered by the Knightstone boat.

The first lifeboat to be based on Birnbeck Pier began operating in 1882.

George Rawlinson from the RNLI said that "problems outside our control have proved difficult to overcome and we have to move off the island".

"The most prudent option is this phased withdrawal, which will allow us to maintain lifesaving cover while we establish a temporary solution for our local lifeboat team."

The RNLI spokesman added that it was too early to say what the final long-term plan for lifeboats will be.

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