Many will know that the Government of the day in its spending review cut funding to the Coastguards Emergency Towing Vehicle (ETV). This has resulted in the ETV being withdrawn. This in my opinion was a terrible decision not only putting putting peoples lives at risk, but also of grave concern is the danger to the coast of Cornwall if a ship/boat runs aground.
If this is not bad enough the funding Cornwall Council receives for the Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) has today been stopped. The MIRG is the specially trained firefighters who are deployed during an ship related emergency. Again, this is a disaster. It will be little comfort to the Chief Fire Officer that the government has agreed to cover Cornwall Council costs if the MIRG is deployed between now and the end of January 2012.
If no funding is found from other sources like the DCLG, or the Department of Transport I feel in the current financial climate there is little hope, the MIRG will be unable to continue post 31st January 2012.
Whilst the ETV and the MIRG were not called out daily, or even weekly, they both have been used extensively over the last few years. There is no doubt without the intervention of the MIRG and ETV lives would have been put in grave danger, if not lost.
Lets hope the government does reconsider on at least the MIRG! That is the least they owe the seafaring county of Cornwall. My understanding is Cornwall Council is doing everything within its power to make the government change its mind, and I would like to congratulate them on their endeavours.