West Cornwall MP's reaction to Search & Rescue move

Commenting on today’s announcement by the Transport Secretary that Search and Rescue services will move from RNAS Culdrose to Newquay Airport by 2017, the West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, said:

This is, of course, a bitter disappointment to those who have admired and supported the excellent and heroic service which the 771 Squadron has provided in the West for many decades.

It is regrettable that the service will be moving to Newquay. I have concerns that both the operational capacity of Culdrose and its capacity to attend many incidents in the far reaches of the Western Approaches – often 200 to 250 miles west of the Isles of Scilly – will not receive the same response from Newquay.

Although the S92 is a superior air frame to the Sea King, Culdrose has a clear locational advantage over Newquay in terms of its access to the many and challenging maritime incidents that happen in the far west.

This news does not in any way undermine the future of RNAS Culdrose itself as the naval air station is the fulcrum of the military Merlin air arm which is crucial for the future of Royal Naval operations.

– Andrew George MP, Lib Dem, St Ives

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Search and Rescue sell off

The Government has confirmed Britain's Search and Rescue service is to be taken over by an American firm. Two Sikorsky S92 helicopters will be based at Newquay, and half of the new fleet of 22 helicopters will be built at AgustaWestland in Yeovil.