Minister seeks to reassure MP re: Culdrose Search & Rescue

Posted on: 13th February 2012

Transport Minister, Mike Penning MP, has sought to reassure local MP, Andrew George, that the future 771 Squadron replacement Search and Rescue service will both operate from the “Culdrose vicinity” and continue to be fully integrated with other emergency services.

Mr George said: “There has been continuing uncertainty throughout the whole stop-start SAR review and tendering processes over the last five years. And there’s been anxiety in West Cornwall about what would happen to the future replacement of the excellent 771 Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose.

“Although I am pleased that the Minister is confident that the service will continue to be fully integrated with other emergency services, as is the case with the existing SAR force, I understand that the precise location of future bases will be subject to negotiations with contract bidders.

“Having said that, the Minister has stated that ‘once operational, the new contractor will utilise bases at or in the vicinity of 10 of the existing bases, including Culdrose’.”

Mr George has been pressing the Minister to ensure that the service retains similar levels of flexibility as are currently provided.

The 771 Squadron provides a vital medical evacuation service including, on occasion, for constituents on the Isles of Scilly and the mainland. It also provides a casualty evacuation service – particularly where other emergency services cannot attend during those hours (e.g. darkness) when the charity based air ambulance service is not operational.

Mr George added: “It provides an important back-up to the full range of emergency services and is much appreciated.”


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