NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales and Leader of UKIP Wales, is urging the Welsh Government to step in and fight plans to downgrade the all-weather lifeboat at New Quay.
The RNLI has decided to replace the Mersey class All Weather Lifeboat with a smaller inshore vessel when its service life expires in 2020.
The news has brought a storm of protest from local people and a petition calling on the RNLI to reverse their decision has so far attracted more than 15,000 signatures. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has also been questioned about the decision, in Parliament.
Mr Hamilton, who met with campaigners, during a visit to New Quay recently, said he was appalled at the decision.
“I was delighted to see the Prime Minister drawn into this matter during PMQ, as I am horrified at this nonsensical proposal by the RNLI to withdraw the All-weather Lifeboat from New Quay in 2020. Replacing it with an inshore vessel seems totally inadequate and will, potentially, leave hundreds of people vulnerable along a huge stretch of coastline from Fishguard to Barmouth.
“I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign team, when I was in New Quay recently, and was able to hear their concerns at first hand.
“If the RNLI thought they could make this decision without protest, they reckoned without the determination of local people who have strong support from a wider community. I fully support their endeavours and will continue to help them fight this utterly wrong decision until the RNLI has a change of heart.
“I shall also be calling on fellow AM’s for their support and urging the Welsh Government to get involved.”
The proposed new inshore lifeboat, which also covers also covers Cardigan, Aberporth, Tresaith, Llangrannog, Aberaeron, Llanon, and Aberystwyth, will not be able to launch in conditions exceeding Force 7 in the daytime or Force 6 at night.
After 2020, there will be no All-Weather Lifeboats in the whole of Ceredigion, leaving a gap of 70 miles between the All-Weather stations of Barmouth and Fishguard.
This means is that the nearest All-Weather Lifeboat, even travelling at 25 knots, will take an hour and a quarter to reach some parts of Cardigan Bay.
A public meeting has also been organised for Saturday May 12 held at Tabernacle Chapel, Glanmor Terrace. New Quay, at 2pm.
To find out more about the campaign to save New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat, visit www.ceredigionlifeboatcampaign.org.uk