Despite a long and hard fought campaign by many constituents and others to retain our search and rescue (SAR) helicopter on Portland, the helicopter will be withdrawn in July 2017, when the base at Osprey Quay will be vacated by the MCA.
However, Richard can now announce plans for a compromise solution, whereby a commercial helicopter company is expected to take over the site in 2017.
HeliOperations trains and provides pilots and crews for a number of roles - see website www.helioperations.co.uk.
As a result of their presence, highly skilled jobs, both in the air and on the ground, would remain on the island and SAR helicopters tasked to our waters could refuel there, saving precious time.
HeliOperations is currently the preferred bidder for the Osprey Quay site and hopes to have details finalised by mid 2017.