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Farron Presents Arnside Petition to Transport Minister

December 3, 2008 2:45 PM

Local MP Tim Farron yesterday presented Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick with a petition demanding the Maritime and Coastguard Agency restore the Arnside Coastguard.

Thousands of local residents have signed the petition collected by local councillors Ian Stewart and Pru Jupe, after the Maritime and Coastguard Agency removed the boat for repair five months ago and have yet to confirm when it will be back and whether it will even return to Arnside.

Former local coastguard, George Crossman joined Tim at the meeting with the Minister.

The MCA have designated a hovercraft from Morecambe as a temporary substitute; however local residents remain concerned about the time it will take for the craft to reach the estuary. The hovercraft would take around 25 minutes to reach a person in difficulty in the Estuary, whereas the Coastguard boat could perform a rescue in around five minutes.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The tides on Morecambe Bay and in particular the Kent estuary are some of the most dangerous in the UK which can cause even the most experienced sailors difficulty.

"The hovercraft takes over 25 minutes for it to travel from Morecambe to Arnside and cannot be considered a suitable alternative to our local coastguard vessel.

"The expert knowledge of the Arnside Coastguard is particularly important given the unique movements of the channel. If we are to avoid a repeat of the 2004 tragedy at Morecambe Bay, it is essential that we keep hold of such vital local expertise.

"Now that we have formally presented the petition to the Minister, I am hopeful that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will take note and restore the Arnside Coastguard immediately."