RAF Valley Search and Rescue Saved
by J Roberts
The 24-hour Search and Rescue service at RAF Valley has been saved as the UK Government's privatisation plans have been abandoned.
The news will be greeted with relief by personnel at 22 Squadron at RAF Valley, Anglesey, who operate the 24/7 service using the familiar yellow Westland Sea King helicopters.
Prince William, who last year qualified as a helicopter pilot with the Search and Recue Training Unit (SARTU), is understood to have made personal representations to the Prime Minister.
The proposed £6 billion privatisation by Soteria would have seen the Sea King helicopters replaced by newer, relatively untried units, and operated by non-military crews with little local experience.
It seems the whole project wobbled when it was revealed there were irregularities in the bidding procedures regarding release of sensitive information to a member of the preferred bidder's team.
The bid by Soteria had been backed by a number of private enterprises including Sikorsky, Thales and RBS, and it was the withdrawal by the bank which further precipitated the problem.
According to UK Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, the Soteria consortium had expressed concern about the conduct of one of their biddng team, with regard to certain procedures in the bid.
In view of the seriousness of these irregularities, the Government appears to have concluded it is no longer feasible to proceed with the whole process.
In all this is great news for the personnel at 22 Squadron at RAF Valley, as well as the wider local economy on Anglesey.
It is equally a great reassurance for all who enjoy the island's fantastic coastline, beaches and seas, as well as those climbing Snowdonia on the mainland.
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here. It's as easy as 1-2-3!Sea King Helicopter photo by Les Powell