LOCAL MP CALLS FOR LOCAL CONSULTATION ON COASTGUARD CLOSURES
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has called on the UK Government to ensure a consultation meeting on the planned closure of coast guard bases is held in the region.
Dumfries and Galloway’s coastline is currently served by the Clyde coastguard service which, along with a coastguard station on the Forth, is set to close under the plans announced in December last year by Shipping Minister Mike Penning MP. Overall, the Government is seeking to reduce the number of Coastguard bases from 18 to 8 across the UK. In Scotland there will only be a single 24 hour station in Aberdeen and a second station operating only in daylight hours at either Shetland or Stornaway.
Following the announcement, consultation meetings are taking place across the country. However, despite having over 200 miles of coastline, no consultation meeting is scheduled to take place in Dumfries and Galloway.
Last week, Russell Brown MP wrote to Shipping Minister Mike Penning calling on him to intervene to ensure a local consultation meeting takes place in Dumfries and Galloway to allow those with a maritime interest to put forward their views. He has also spoken to Philip Naylor, the Director of Maritime Services at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Dumfries and Galloway Council backed the MP’s calls at a meeting of Corporate Policy Committee yesterday (1 March), when they agreed to write to the MCA to ask for a local consultation.
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said:
“With over 200 miles of coastline and busy ports, there is no excuse for not having a consultation meeting in Dumfries and Galloway. Local people are worried about the impact of the closure of the coastguard stations but they are being shut out of the debate. The Government must intervene and ensure we get a local consultation meeting to allow people with a maritime interest to put forward their views in person.
“In their rush to cut, the Government is ignoring the serious public safety implications closing Coastguard bases will have on Dumfries and Galloway. The local knowledge of our area built up by the team at Clyde Coastguard has been invaluable in saving lives. Aberdeen is 200 miles away and I have grave concerns about whether our coastline can be adequately protected. A single station is simply not enough to cover the whole of Scotland.
“The fact there has been no consultation with local people shows this is a quick money saving exercise by the Government. Even our Tory Council is calling on the Tory Government to act. The Shipping Minister must now listen and give Dumfries and Galloway a voice before it’s too late and the bases are closed.”
CONTACT – ANDREW MACKENZIE 07769206856