MSPs call for coastguard support

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SNP MSPs Rod Campbell (N E Fife) and Stuart McMillan (West of Scotland) are calling for support for the Coastguard bases at Clyde and Fife Ness after the UK Government confirmed it intends to close both bases.

Both MSPs have lodged parliamentary motions and are jointly writing to the UK Government for assurances that the final decisions have not already been made.

The SNP has argued that the UK Government’s failure to understand Scottish coastguard services and to respond to local needs should see the service devolved.

West of Scotland MSP Stuart McMillan who has supported Clyde Coastguard said:

“This proposal simply makes no sense and it is unclear who is to lead on services for the Clyde.  Is it Stornoway – the nearest station in Scotland – or is it Belfast which has apparently been saved because it has “local knowledge” of the Clyde?

“The best local knowledge of Clyde is surely within the Clyde base.

“The Navy buildings where Clyde is based have been run down for years and this decision is more about avoiding the costs of upgrading an essential service than it is about safety.

SNP MSP for North East Fife, where the Fife Ness station is located, Rod Campbell said:

“The Forth, like the Clyde, is part of a growing coastal and offshore industry with new developments, offshore renewables, cruises, increasing leisure traffic and of course significant shipping.

“Despite the UK calling this a consultation it appears to be a fait accompli.  North East Fife is once again faced with having to battle the UK Government over cuts and services that have a significant effect on the area’s economy and its future.

Mr Campbell added:

“The UK Government’s decision makes it clearer than ever that Scotland’s seas and the coastguard service that covers them should be managed from Scotland and that instead of allowing the UK Government to shut our coastguard services and risk exposing the safety of our seas we should continue to argue for devolution of coastguard services so their future is determined by those who understand both the requirements and the potential of Scotland’s waters.”