The decision to close two of Scotland’s coastguard stations is “wrong”, an MP claimed today.
Iain McKenzie hit out at the UK government’s changes, which have already seen the Forth coastguard station close, while Clyde coastguard is also due to be axed.
Coastguard staff at Aberdeen have taken on responsibility for the Forth area. After the Clyde station closes, responsibility for its area will be divided between Belfast and Stornoway.
Mr McKenzie, Labour MP for Inverclyde, said: “The government’s decision to close two of Scotland’s maritime rescue co-ordination centres is wrong and deeply concerning.” He spoke out as Westminster’s Scottish affairs committee published a report on the issue.
Mr McKenzie, a member of the committee, said MPs had heard from “a number of coastguard experts and the Save our Coastguard campaigners, who agree that the decision to centralise coastguard stations will have major safety implications for the west coast of Scotland and will impact on services throughout Scotland”.
Transport minister Stephen Hammond stressed that safety remained the government’s “top priority”.
He said: “Our reforms will deliver a more resilient, fully-networked rescue co-ordination system benefiting all parts of the UK, including Scotland.”