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Police and Fire Boards add their voice to coastal rescue campaign (15/02/11)
The Northern Joint Police Board and the Highlands and Islands Fire Board have jointly written to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Southampton to support the retention of the two emergency towing vessels which are based in Stornoway and Lerwick and also the 24-hour Coastguard Stations at Stornoway and Lerwick.
In a letter to HM Coastguard Modernisation Consultation, the Boards state: “As the police authority and fire and rescue authority respectively for the Highlands and Islands, an area directly and significantly affected by the current consultation proposals, the Northern Joint Police Board and the Highland and Islands Fire Board have a shared interest in the delivery of emergency services protecting the Highlands and Islands.
“Both Boards recognise that the current proposals to change the structure of the Coastguard Service in the North of Scotland will have a fundamental impact on the area as a whole and, at their recent meetings, each Board agreed to give its full support to the representations being made on these vital issues by the four constituent local authorities - The Highland Council, Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
“Accordingly, the Northern Joint Police Board and the Highland and Islands Fire Board each associates itself with the responses being submitted by these Councils to the consultation and with their detailed representations to the UK Government on their proposals.”
Senior council representatives of Highland, Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles recently met UK Shipping Minister, Mike Penning, to highlight their concerns about the withdrawal of the emergency towing vessels from September of this year and the withdrawal of 24-hour cover of the coastguard operations.