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Her Majesty's Coastguard

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will announce his decision on the proposed definition of the primary role of Her Majesty's Coastguard as recommended in the coastal review.

Following consultations with the other authorities concerned, I have accepted the recommendation of the coastal review that the role of Her Majesty's coastguard need to be clearly defined and formally promulgated.Accordingly, by the authority given to the Secretary of State by the Coastguard Act 1925 my right hon. and learned Friend has agreed that:

"Her Majesty's Coastguard is responsible for the initiation and co-ordination of civil maritime search and rescue within the United Kingdom search and rescue region. This includes the mobilisation, organisation and tasking of adequate resources to respond to persons either in distress at sea, or to persons at risk of injury or death on the cliffs or shoreline of the United Kingdom."

In view of the importance of the cliff and shoreline task, particularly in holiday areas, I have instructed the Chief Coastguard to liaise with the police authorities to set up local coastal search and rescue committees to provide a consultative body to consider the co-ordination problems on the shoreline, improve liaison between the interested authorities concerned and to assess the availability and readiness of rescue resources. Additionally, coastguard sector officers are to be formally tasked to establish regular meetings with local community representatives to ensure that matters of concern involving marine or shoreline search and rescue are fully aired and brought to the attention of the search and rescue committee.