Council Leader to write to UK and Scottish Governments requesting urgent reinstatement of ETVs

Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson is to write to UK Transport Minister Robert Goodwill and the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon requesting long term funding be identified to urgently reinstate two Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs) for operational duty covering the waters surrounding the Northern and Western Coast of Scotland and Islands.

Cross-party support was given by Members at a meeting of The Highland Council today (10 March) for Leader Davidson to write to the Ministers.

A motion to Council by Cllrs Greene, Davidson, Henderson and Sinclair stated:

“The Highland Council has been at the forefront of pressure to reinstate Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) cover to waters surrounding the Northern and Western Coast of Scotland and Islands. In partnership with Local Authorities from Aberdeenshire round to Argyll, including Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles, and further supported by Kommunenes Internasjonale Miljøorganisasjon (KIMO) UK, it is imperative that as a minimum this Council shall seek to have one ETV based in the Northern Isles and a second ETV in Stornoway or an alternative port along the North Western Mainland.

“The announcement by the UK Transport Minister, Mr Robert Goodwill, to grant a six month extension of retention of the ETV based in the Northern Isles is very much welcomed.”

Cllr Davidson said: “The Maritime and Coastguard Agency risk assessment came out clearly that the tugs should remain. Mr Goodwill agreed to a 6 month extension but this is not a long time frame for action. This is a council-wide effort and I welcome the weight of support behind us in getting the results we are looking for.”

Cllr Greene added: “Cllr Henderson and I attended a meeting with senior officers in Edinburgh yesterday with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at which we experienced one or two positive chinks of light on the matter of ETVs. It was made clear to us however, that the issues concerning ETVs come down to the consideration of finding more money. How that happens will take time and in the meantime we continue to urge for reinstatement.”

10 Mar 2016
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