By a Newsnet reporter

Stuart McMillan MSP has today (Saturday) been given unanimous support from the SNP Spring Conference in Glasgow with his on-going battle with the UK Government’s planned cuts to the Coastguard services in Scotland.

Clyde and Forth Coastguard stations are earmarked for closure and Aberdeen would be downgraded as part of plans which the UK Government hopes will save £7.5m per year by closing ten coastguard stations across the UK.  Mr McMillan has grave concerns about the dangers that will face tourists and regular users of the busy waterways affected.

Mr McMillan, SNP MSP for West Scotland, has spearheaded the opposition to the Coastguard cuts introduced Calum Murray and Irene Reid, two members of Clyde station – the busiest in Scotland and third busiest in UK – to the SNP Spring Conference in Glasgow.

Speaking at the SECC, on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow, Mr McMillan said:

“It is a real honour to have two members of Clyde Coastguard here at Conference in Glasgow – the work they do is second to none and they are a real asset to the west coast of Scotland.

“Local knowledge of our rugged coastline is the key to our highly valued Coastguard services who keep the waters safe for millions of users every year.

“It is ridiculous that the Clyde Coastguard staff members who are set to lose their jobs are now being asked to train the Belfast unit who will now be expected to cover hundreds of miles of the west coast of Scotland’s busy coastline. How can you teach 20 years of local knowledge?

“Closing coastguard stations down including Clyde is a short-sighted and dangerous move which puts saving money over saving lives.

“Despite the consultation period being over it is not too late for the UK Government listen to the growing number of voices saying that this must be reversed.”



Ben Power
2012-03-10 20:43

Coastguard rescue is like a fire brigade or insurance. Its value is never appreciated until it is needed.
That some elitist politician down south can make a risk assessment on how many lives or shipping assets can be risked is shameful. What would such a person know about the matter, nothing probably did not even understand any reports if they even bothered to read them.
From a few years at sea in my early years I well remember just how unforgiving and dangerous sea faring can be.
These ConDem politicians are making dangerous decisions.
It is like they are costing into their financial forecasts just how many lives they are prepared to sacrifice for their profits. Axe the stupid and useless Trident fiasco and our coasts would be safer all round with the money saved.

When the accident invariably happens, those same pollies will “tsk tsk so sorry” and real people will lose lives and loved ones. The whole thing is obscene.
2012-03-10 21:11

So right BP.

When you hear of Wastemonster politicians make such dreadful decisions you really have question their sanity.

No one in their right mind would cut the Coastguard stations hat currently cover the coastline of Scotland.

How on earth are the Coastguards in Belfast going to feel when they are involved in their first emergency off the Scottish coast and they send the rescuers to the wrong location. I do not mean this as any form of attack on those individuals working the Belfast sector, but as you say BP only those who have the experience of working the Clyde sector or wherever can realistically have the necessary knowledge.

Wastemonsters antics over this are disastrous!

2012-03-11 11:16

It is often forgotten that the Coastguard cover the on shore coastal areas as well as the sea. Anyone who walks on a coastal path and who gets into difficulty will be rescued by Coastguard personnel co- ordinated by a Centre such as Clyde Coastguard. So it is not just seafarers whose lives will be at risk by this closure, but anyone who spends any time on the coast for work or pleasure.
Ben Power
2012-03-11 12:39

Bingo, another good point that would not have been considered. Who is to cover that scenario, Belfast???
2012-03-11 13:13

Yes, anyone needing assistance in what is the area currently covered by Clyde will be talking to Belfast if they call 999 for the coastguard. Local names and landmarks will mean very little, tourists very often follow small guide maps or no map at all so pinpointing their position will be more problematic without the ability to reference local landmarks. By this I mean what can the casualty see from their position and using this to narrow the search area down. Belfast will be good at this for Northern Ireland but the west coast of Scotland is so diverse that it will be impossible to replace the knowledge at Clyde.

2012-03-11 23:04

“Coastguard rescue is like a fire brigade or insurance. Its value is never appreciated until it is needed.”

Totally agree with this….

Makes you want to have a referendum next week, never mind 2014!

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