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‘Considerable concern’ over RNLI plans

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SINCE the RNLI announced its decision to replace the all-weather Mersey-class lifeboat at New Quay with an Atlantic 85 inshore boat in 2020 the issue has been taken to the Government.

Campaigners fighting the plan say the RNLI’s decision will leave a gap of nearly 70 miles between all-weather lifeboat stations in an area frequented by fishing vessels, passenger boats and leisure craft.

Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones AM are two notable names who have raised concerns of the announcement.

In the House of Commons Chamber on October 19, Ben Lake MP asked for a statement detailing the Government’s expectation with regards to lifeboat provision.

He noted that ‘there is considerable concern in Ceredigion that proposals under the recent coastal review of Cardigan Bay would leave the entire Ceredigion coastline without sufficient all-weather lifeboat provision’.

An encouraging response on behalf of the Government came from Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons and a former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

She said: “I think the honourable gentleman raises an extremely important point and I do encourage him to go direct to the Department.

“I am sure if they’re aware of this situation they will be equally concerned and I am happy to raise it with them on his behalf if he’d like to write to me.”

Mr Lake has since written to Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport asking for a detailed UK Government policy on all-weather lifeboat provision, and to clarify whether the RNLI’s decision should be reconsidered as a consequence.

Ben Lake MP said: “I hope to receive a positive response from the Secretary of State. The proposed downgrade of the all-weather lifeboat in New Quay is in danger of placing casualties, seafarers and RNLI crews at unnecessary risk, and so I am sure that all parties involved can come together to reconsider this decision.”

Elin Jones has also written to the Welsh Government outlining her concerns.

In the letter she said: “The proposed new lifeboat is not suitable for use in all weathers, it is a much smaller ship than that which is currently deployed in New Quay, and it will vastly restrict the capability of rescuing people at sea from the station.

“The RNLI volunteers have showed me evidence of the effect that this downgrading will have on Ceredigion’s coast, and have raised concerns that people at sea would be left at considerable risk. With the downgrading of the rescue ship at New Quay, the vast majority of the Ceredigion coast will be left without an hour response All-Weather vessel.”

Replying on behalf of the Government, Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “I too share your concerns. The safety of our fishing industry is a key concern of mine, and whilst fishing will always be an inherently dangerous occupation, it is imperative we do all we can to improve the safety of our operations.

“Whilst I am unable to intervene in the decision, I have asked my officials to reiterate our concerns and seek clarification from the RNLI regarding its decision.”

Following this, Elin Jones AM, said: “It is very encouraging that the Welsh Government have decided to support this campaign. There is a clear need for an all-weather lifeboat to cover the coast of Ceredigion, as recent weather has shown us.

“Over the last few months, along with Ben Lake MP I have met several times with volunteers of the RNLI in New Quay, Ceredigion. We have also met with George Rawlinson, Operations Manager for the RNLI, and I feel that many of the concerns raised by the volunteers, related organisations and general public, are not being met.

“The most important of these is that there has been a lack of consultation with the public, Ceredigion County Council, other emergency services and with the local volunteers.

“Therefore, I hope that with the Welsh Government raising its concerns with the RNLI, the decision to downgrade the lifeboat will be halted.”

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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