Re-think on Coastguard cut-backs

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to close more than half of the Coastguard stations around Britain could be scaled back.

The proposal to cut the number of rescue stations from 19 to nine, only three of which would remain open 24 hours a day, sparked anger in Hartlepool after fishermen raised fears it would put lives at risk.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is planning to only operate the Humber Coastguard station, which serves an area from the Scottish Border to Lincolnshire, during daylight hours.

National reports suggest that Transport Secretary Philip Hammond will now reprieve some of the threatened stations.

Calls have been made for Mr Hammond to “clear up” the uncertainty and take another look at the plans.

A Whitehall source said that the Transport Secretary was responding to arguments he had heard during an ongoing consultation process, including warnings that the skills of experienced coastguards would be lost if local centres were closed.