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Fighting to save the Portland helicopter
4:00pm Friday 15th March 2013 in News
A TOP government minister headed to Dorset to discuss the future of the Portland coastguard helicopter.
Stephen Hammond, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, met South Dorset MP Richard Drax at the Portland helicopter base to talk about the threatened service.
Mr Drax said the transport minister had met with a team of people he had convened that had knowledge of search and rescue and were reliant on it.
He said: “We have had a meeting with the transport minister.
“All I can say is that he listened to a number of interested parties, people who are involved in the search and rescue others who feel it should be kept here.
“He really did listen and has gone away to think about it.“The tender for the helicopter goes out at the end of this month and he came down at the earliest opportunity.
“He’s gone off now and we hope to hear from him in the not too distant future as to if we have one the case or not.”
He added that the minister had listened to what the group had to say and hopefully he would now ‘change his mind.’ The aircraft was also on the agenda when South West MEP Ashley Fox visited the area.
Dorset county councillor Tim Munro and borough councillors Ian Munro-Price and Ian Bruce met with Mr Fox and discussed their concerns.
Following his visit Mr Fox said: “Portland Search and Rescue has saved hundreds of lives and should be retained to protect our coasts into the future.”
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