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Review into search and rescue helicopters welcomed by MP

June 28, 2010 12:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed a review into search and rescue helicopter cover launched by the new coalition government. The government has suspended plans, announced in February, to privatise the service which would have reduced the amount of cover available in the Lake District at night.

The £7bn contract was suspended by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP along with a number of other projects launched by the last government which did not offer 'value for money'.

Had the plans gone ahead, the search and rescue service currently provided by the RAF would have been privatised, and cover for the Lake District from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland reduced to 'day-time only' - with night-time cover provided from further afield. New helicopters would also have been put on order, despite concerns from the rescue community that they would not have been as appropriate for rescue work as the current Sea Kings.

Speaking today, Tim said: "Had these plans gone ahead lives would have been put at risk in the Lake District. For example, during last November's floods the night-time cover from RAF Boulmer was vital to saving a number of lives here in Cumbria - other bases were dealing with emergencies closer to home.

"This review is being conducted quickly, but it gives us an opportunity to look again at search and rescue cover for the Lakes, and push the case that cover from RAF Boulmer should be 24/7."