Minister Says Culdrose Search And Rescue Will Continue

RNAS rescue helicopter from RAF Culdrose

The Ministry of Transport has said future search and rescue services for the region will continue to operate from the “Culdrose vicinity.”

This came from Transport Minister, Mike Penning, in a written response to questions from local MP, Andrew George.

Mr Penning said any new contractors for the service would continue to utilise bases “at or in the vicinity of 10 of the existing bases, including Culdrose.”

Last November, the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, announced that the Government had begun the process to secure a fully-civilian contract for UK-wide search and rescue provision. The service will be put out to tender by 2016.

At the time, Mr George said he was disappointed that the Government hadn’t chosen to reverse the decision of the last Government and award the search and rescue contract to the Ministry of Defence.

The MP said he wanted any private sector operation to run from Culdrose and offer the existing range of services including medical evacuation, not just maritime rescue.

Mr George said: “There has been continuing uncertainty throughout the whole stop-start, search and rescue 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.”

He added, “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.”