Coastguard consultation extended

WAVENEY MP Peter Aldous yesterday welcomed a decision by the Government to extend its consultation on the future of the national coastguard service by six weeks.

Under proposals announced in December by the Department for Transport, the number of coastguard stations around the UK would be slashed from 19 to eight, of which only three will operate round the clock. The plans could see 250 jobs go as part of efforts to save �7.5m a year, but the moves have prompted fierec objections from mariners who fear the loss of local knowledge could compromise safety.

One of the centres that could close is the one at Great Yarmouth, which is responsible for providing search and rescue coverage from Haile Sand Fort in Lincolnshire to Southwold. About 36 people are employed at the base at Havenbridge House on North Quay including surveyors and operational staff.

Mr Aldous pledged to ensure the views of local people were considered. He said: 'I am pleased to hear the government has extended its consultation, this gives constituents more times to get their concerns to me so I can represent them either in a future debate or in direct correspondence to the Minister.'

•Write to: Peter Aldous, House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A OAA or e-mail: