Drax Urges Wessex FM Listeners To Help Save Portland Helicopter
7:06am 27th June 2012
South Dorset MP Richard Drax is asking Wessex FM listeners to sign an e-petition to save Portland Coastguard Helicopter.
The search and rescue chopper is set to be axed due to budget cuts in 2017.
The South Dorset MP has appealed to the Prime Minster and the Secretary of State for Transport for Portland to keep its helicopter, but so far that's fallen on deaf ears.
"Just 100,000 signatures on an e-petition significantly raise the chances of a debate in the House," says Drax. "We must ensure that we do not lose a precious resource like our helicopter, to which so many people owe their lives, without a very grave and public assessment of the consequences."
"I have been told by the Secretary of State that no consultation was undertaken over getting rid of our helicopter because the service was being 'improved.' She has assured me that 10 newer, faster helicopters can do the job previously done by 12. That is debatable. No helicopter can be in two places at once, no matter how fast it is."
"Even the consultants asked to validate the Department of Transport's report said that there were flaws in the analysis. The very least we can do is to make sure that such a drastic move is discussed properly, in the House, by those who have their constituents' interests at heart."
"The savings to the government are negligible; the Portland helicopter costs between £4m and £5m a year. It is estimated that one road crash death costs the public purse £2m. At that rate, with only two lives saved a year, the Portland helicopter is paying for itself."
"Swimmers, sailors, divers, fishermen, walkers, holidaymakers - in fact, anyone at all who appreciates and uses our glorious coastline should sign this petition to save our helicopter."
The e-petition, closes on August 23rd, 2012.
CLICK HERE to sign it.