Originally Posted by Northern Tim
Up to half of MRCCs to close and complete privatisation of the search and rescue helicopter fleet
Does anyone know who to address concerns to?
Is there a public consultation on any of this?
The S&R decision goes back to the previous government, and is not really news - the only "development" there being that the "new" government have decides to go ahead with the orginal decision (having been reviewing it for value for money). As I understand it the C.G. helo's already operate under similar arrangements, and I've never heard of anyone complaining, "Oh no they've sent the private guys, I wish they had sent the RAF/Navy instead".
Given that the service evolved to rescue military personnel but are almost exclusively used to rescue civillians, it seems fairly logical that at some point someone would question its "ownership". I appreciate that we believe (very patriotically) that our military are the best in the world, and therefore must be the very best guys in the world to pluck you out of trouble. As I understand it many of the private sector crews are ex military, but using newer kit (which may or may not be more suited to its role).
As for the MRCC's being reduced in number... ...in many cases they are so remote from the area covered that any "local knowledge" must be limited (e.g. a call from the sound of Islay would be directed to a guy in Greenock; a call from Shetland goes to Aberdeen etc) so its certainly possible to see how their areas could be enlarged, although unless people are sitting twiddling their thumbs I don't see how you save money on (poorly paid) staff costs by merging sites.
If you are not happy with the proposals then I'd get in touch with your MP. If they are from a coalition party they might have some influence. If they are from the opposition then they may have less! You can of course contact the minister responsible for transport, and anyone else who might listen, but you'll need to have a structured argument as to why the proposals are wrong rather than just "don't upset the status quo".
EDIT: I have a far greater objection to the removal of emergency towing vessels (already decided). If they don't break even then charge vessels who need them sufficient to cover the annual costs. Yes the commercial sector needs to take responsibility but if there are major pollution incidents then it will take more than compensation to make it good.