More than £42,00 of the British taxpayer’s money was spent on sea rescues at Holy Island in the past 3 years. The following statistics are alarming, to say the least:
- In 2008 the Sea King MK3 helicopter made two rescues lasting two hours, which ran up a bill of £20,715.
- In 2009 the RAF helicopter was used for 45 minutes which cost £9,321.
- And in 2010, another RAF helicopter rescue took place, lasting an hour and costing £12,429.
The MoD spokesman quoted to the news “The taxpayer meets those costs, but those rescued don’t have to pay anything.”
The cost of the £12,429 an hour includes; four crew members, fuel and constant regular maintenance of the Sea King helicopter. But it is not just the RAF that the rescues affect, it is also the RNLI lifeboat service that suffer insignificant spending costs of rescuing motorists from the causeway and has been used 20 times within the past 4 years.
The rescues cost Seahouses RNLI an alarmingly £1,200, which, like the RAF, includes; fuel, maintenance, crew costs, training and equipment. Ian Clayton, Operations Manager of Seahouses RNLI reported that all the income they receive is donated by the public and the money spent on causeway rescues would have helped to purchase more equipment for the service.
So with the amount of trouble motorists cause by not checking the tide times, it is not surprising that the people who reside on Lindisfarne have came up with a solution to stop the motorists getting stuck. They have suggested that there are electric gates put up to stop motorists crossing when there is water on the causeway. Which I think is a really good idea.
The amount of money that is spent rescuing motorists who ignore advice about checking crossing times and warnings about not crossing while there is water on the causeway could be used in so many more ways. The money could go towards renewing equipment, recruiting new crew members and could even be put towards a new lifeboat.
If I had my way, I would rescue them but they would be issued with a court summons and I would make them pay for the services that had to be used due to their ignorance. Surely that is only fair? Obviously, they would pay it by so much per month, like what most people who are fined thousand do, but it certainly would get the message across.
So if you are thinking of planning a trip across to Holy Island, then please check the crossing times before you set off. They can be found online at http://www.northumberlandlife.org/holy-island.