The coalition government at Westminster has plans to close Shetland’s coastguard station as part of its massive ongoing cost-cutting drive, The Shetland Times has learned.
However, an announcement expected tomorrow by the Department for Transport (DfT) has been postponed to allow negotiations to continue over what are extremely controversial proposals.
The Shetland Times was informed early today that the Lerwick station, which employs more than 20 members of staff, was one of three in Scotland earmarked for the axe.
But tonight a government source said the Prime Minister’s office had agreed to “pull” the announcement although he agreed that this did not necessarily mean the Shetland station would be spared.
A proposal to close the coastguard station would face huge resistance within the isles, coming just months after the government announced it was scrapping the emergency coastguard tugs.
SIC convener Sandy Cluness met other council leaders on Friday to agree a strategy to campaign to save the Anglian Sovereign and other vessels. Shipping minister Mike Penning is due to visit the isles in the New Year to hear concerns at the loss of cover.
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has been lobbying transport secretary Philip Hammond to spare the tugs.