March 15th, 2011

MSP challenges coastguard cuts

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has challenged the Government to think again over dangerous cuts to the coastguard services.

The local MSP met with Sir Alan Massey, the chief executive officer of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to Navy Buildings in Greenock this week.

Mr McNeil believes the UK Government is playing politics with the locations of the centres and the decision to remove MRCC Clyde could leave the area dangerously exposed.

He said: “The Clyde coastguard centre is responsible for the longest and most challenging stretch of coastline of any of the MRCCs, has the fifth highest levels of incidents in the UK and has the highest level of search and rescue hours in Scotland.

“To remove this centre is not only daft but dangerous and I am disappointed that Sir Alan Massey was not able to give any good reason why Aberdeen should be favoured over Greenock in the review.

“It was confirmed at an earlier meeting in Edinburgh with the chief coastguard Roger Johnston that had they been starting with a blank piece of paper, the likelihood would have been the retention of the centre here in Greenock.

“I can only conclude that this is being driven by political consideration and not safety or cost efficiency.”