CAMPBELL VOICES OPPOSITION TO COASTGUARD CLOSURE PROPOSAL

North East Fife’s Member of Parliament Sir Menzies Campbell has voiced his strong opposition to the proposal to close Fife Ness Coastguard station to the UK Transport Secretary.

Fife Ness covers the eastern coastline of Scotland from the border up towards Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and provides 24 hour a day, 7 day a week response and search and rescue coordination to all emergencies on the coastline and at sea.

In his letter to Phillip Hammond, Sir Menzies highlighted the “extremely busy waterway” of the Firth of Forth which is likely to increase as the offshore renewable energy installations, to be built off the Fife coast, are built and under operation. He also recognised the depth of local knowledge of Coastguard officers at Fife Ness which “undoubtedly enhance” the stations operational ability.

He said:

“The Firth of Forth is at present an extremely busy waterway. The volume of traffic is likely to increase as the offshore renewable energy industry which is fully supported by the Holyrood and Westminster Governments expands.

“The Forth is also home to a great deal of leisure activity as the popularity of sailing increases. This is particularly relevant to the harbour at Anstruther in the East Neuk of Fife in my constituency where there has been considerable success in attracting recreational sailing. Pittenweem Harbour which lies close to Anstruther along the same coast is the centre of the village based fishing industry in Fife.

“From this I hope you will be able to appreciate that the station at Fife Ness in meeting a significant need which is likely to increase in the future. The ability of the station to do so is undoubtedly enhanced by the local knowledge of the officers who man it.

“Other factors which require to be recognised are the well established relationship between the station and the lifeboat crew at Anstruther, the number of occasions when members of the public get into difficulties when walking on or near the coastline of Fife and require coastguard assistance, and the possibility in spite of overwhelming public opposition that the Forth may be used for ship to ship oil transfer.

“In short the coastguard station is in the right location, meets a vital need and has established necessary and fruitful relationships with other agencies and services. The case for its retention is overwhelming.”

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