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Campaigners fight to save all-weather lifeboat at New Quay

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake has lent his support to the fight. Credit: Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign

A petition to save the all-weather lifeboat at New Quay in Ceredigion has gained support from more than ten thousand people.

In June, the RNLI announced it would replace the station's existing Mersey class all-weather vessel with a new 35-knot Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat.

But seafarers, crew members and visitors say they are worried the change will leave a 70-mile gap on the coastline and no all-weather lifeboat in the whole of Ceredigion.

Campaigners are asking the RNLI to reverse their decision.

There's no question of our loyalty, all of us, to the RNLI - to its ideals, to its principles - but we're absolutely committed to the view that this decision is poorly-made, is a wrong one, and will put people's lives at risk.

We don't know how the campaign will go, but we are in it for the long run There is no way that we're going to back down from this and we will use every legitimate channel to get the decision reviewed.

– Richard Taylor, Chair of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign
A petition has been set up to save the all-weather lifeboat at New Quay. Credit: ITV News

The RNLI said the decision was reached after an in-depth coastal review, which is carried out every five years and looks at the number of rescues, as well as trends in water use and the demand for search-and-rescue operations.

In Cardigan Bay, the last review in 2016 concluded that having 25-knot Shannon class all-weather lifeboats at Barmouth and Pwllheli will ensure the RNLI can continue a comprehensive lifesaving service without the need to station an all-weather at New Quay.

A detailed analysis of launch data also shows that services by New Quay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat could have been carried out safely and effectively by an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, supported by 25-knot lifeboats at neighbouring stations if required. A fast, manoeuvrable Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat will therefore be best placed to respond to the number and type of casualties in this area.

While cost was not the primary reason for the decision, the RNLI estimates that continuing the all-weather service at New Quay would cost the charity about £8m. This includes the costs of an all-weather lifeboat, the launch and recovery system and the building works needed to house it. By allocating an inshore lifeboat to New Quay, annual running costs would also be reduced by £105,000 per year. However, the RNLI will be investing at New Quay lifeboat station by creating better training facilities for the crew, as well as the allocation of a new B class inshore lifeboat, which can be housed in the current build.

– RNLI spokesperson
The RNLI says its lifesaving service won't be affected by the decision. Credit: Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign

Since the petition was started, it has amassed more than 5,000 signatures online and another 5,000 on paper.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake has also lent his support to the campaign.

To me, and everyone I talk to, it is glaringly obvious that there will be a gap in all-weather rescue capability for Ceredigion’s coastline after 2020. This is not satisfactory and I intend to do everything I can to overturn this decision.

The RNLI Lifeboat Station at New Quay has delivered an excellent service for the past 153 years, and its crew needs to be given the correct equipment to continue their lifesaving work. This decision will not only affect New Quay but the whole of Cardigan Bay.

– Ben Lake MP, Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion

As part of the changes, Pwllheli and Barmouth lifeboat stations will also each be allocated a new all-weather lifeboat.

The charity also says New Quay's current lifeboat will not leave Ceredigion until the other two are in place, which is not likely to be before 2020.

See the report by our reporter Jess Main below: