Group wants answers on Fife Ness closure

Fife Ness Coastguard Station closed at the end of September.
Fife Ness Coastguard Station closed at the end of September.

THE UK Government has been called on to explain the rationale for the decision to close the Fife Ness coastguard station.

The call has come from the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee which has again criticised the move, saying it’s puzzled how the same high service can be maintained with fewer resources.

In a new report, committee members, who include MP Lindsay Roy, said they were “deeply concerned” that despite an extensive Government consultation, those on the front line felt they had been excluded from the process.

The MPs concluded no satisfactory explanation for the decision to close the Forth (Fife Ness) and also the Clyde Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) had been given.

The committee is particularly concerned at the loss of local knowledge resulting from the closures.

It says the Government has “clearly failed” so far to make a convincing case for, or carry public opinion on, the proposed changes to HM Coastguard, and must do more to provide reassurance to seafarers who may need to contact the Coastguard in an emergency.

Mr Roy told the Mail: “The report emphasises strongly that local knowledge has often been paramount in ensuring successful search and rescue operations.

“This was stressed by the local coastguard professionals but it would appear their advice has gone unheeded.

“I remain concerned about the premature closure of Fife Ness station.”