THE WORK of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is ‘fantastic,’ according to Teignbridge councillors as they signed up for a new five-year contract for lifeguards on local beaches.

The executive committee voted unanimously to renew a deal with the RNLI to cover Teignmouth and Dawlish Warren beaches.

The charity has served the two beaches for 15 years and has been involved in numerous rescues. 

A report to the committee also pointed out that the lifeguard service is one element that contributes to Dawlish Warren being a Blue Flag beach.

The contract costs more than £50,000 a year, and the council will also supply parking permits and storage facilities.

But Cllr John Nutley (Lib Dem, Ashburton and Buckfastleigh) told the meeting: ‘Life is of far greater value than money can buy.’

Cllr Gary Taylor (Lib Dem, Kenton and Starcross) added: ‘On this 200th anniversary of the RNLI, I’d like us to be able to offer a longer provision if possible.

‘More than 140,000 lives have been saved by the RNLI over those 200 years. It’s a fantastic organisation that we should support.

‘This will help them, and it will certainly help with safety on our beaches.’

Teignbridge shares the cost of providing the service with the RNLI. 

By the end of the new five-year contract the council will be paying 78 per cent of the cost, up from the current level of 65 per cent.

In addition to the cost of just over £50,000, the council will also provide around £5,000 worth of parking permits for RNLI personnel, along with spending £7,840 on two containers in Teignmouth to house the kit required.

The current store at the Den is being demolished as part of a revamp of Teignmouth’s public toilets.