New charging proposals from the communications regulator Ofcom could cost the lifeboat service thousands or even millions of pounds in fees, the Green Party has found. Principal Speaker Caroline Lucas MEP has called on the regulator to grant a 100% discount on any new radar or VHF radio fees to the RNLI, and to other life-saving charities. You can join her and others like me in making a submission to Ofcom before 30th October.
Photo: view across to Wheelers Walk and Rodborough Fort
The charging plans are included in a new Ofcom consultation, "Applying spectrum pricing to the Maritime and Aeronautical sectors". The fees could be in place as early as next year for station-based VHF radio licenses, and larger radar fees are expected to follow from 2010.
Dr Lucas, whose South-East Euro constituency includes 23 RNLI stations, said: "It's almost unbelievable that a vital emergency service like the RNLI receives no government funding at all. We should be doing all we can to support the lifeboat crews, and taking this new expense off their shoulders is a small gesture that could be a great help. I've asked Green supporters around the country to back their local lifeboat station by responding to the regulator and asking for a 100% discount from new radio and radar fees for the RNLI, and for all the other charities we rely on to save lives."
Individuals can respond to the Ofcom consultation online (question 6 only if you don't have time for the rest: www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/aip/howtorespond/form