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Kennedy welcomes decision to retain Stornoway and Lerwick coastguard

July 14, 2011 12:44 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Ross, Skye & Lochaber MP Charles Kennedy has welcomed the UK Government's decision to retain 24 hour coastguard stations in Stornoway and Lerwick.

The UK Department for Transport confirmed today that both island coastguard stations will remain on a 24 hour basis, alongside Aberdeen.

Under original modernisation proposals put forward by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Aberdeen was set to have been the only 24 hour station in Scotland. One of Lerwick and Stornoway would also have remained open during daylight hours.

Responding to the announcement, Mr Kennedy said:

"The MCA's proposal to close one of the island coastguard stations serving the North and West coasts of Scotland and to curtail the operating hours of the other posed a serious threat to the safety of seafarers and the wellbeing of coastal communities in the Highlands & Islands.

"It is very welcome that the Government has listened to the numerous voices which highlighted the damage the original plans would have done. In a world of ever-improving communication technology, centralisation with the loss of key local knowledge is a short-sighted way to make savings.

"We now need to see the same pragmatic approach to the future of the emergency tugs which are vital to defending our coastline from the threat posed by hazardous cargoes in the Minch and elsewhere."