The long and hard fought campaign to retain our search and rescue (SAR) helicopter on Portland failed despite the valiant efforts of many constituents and others. The helicopter will be withdrawn in July, 2017, when the base at Osprey Quay will be vacated by the MCA.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 might take over the site in 2017.
The company is called HeliOperations, which trains and provides pilots and crews for a number of roles - see website www.helioperations.co.uk.
Importantly, 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 early in 2017.