The Department for Transport has officially confirmed that the Lerwick coastguard station is to remain open 24 hours a day.
Shipping minister Mike Penning told MPs in the House of Commons today that the stations in both Lerwick and Stornoway would remain open round the clock. Original plans put forward by the MCA would have seen one of the stations close and the other operating only during daylight hours.
The decision was welcomed by isles MP Alistair Carmichael who said: “Final confirmation that Lerwick is to remain open on a 24-hour basis is welcome news and testament to the strength of the campaign to retain our local service. The strength of feeling around this issue was clear and I am pleased that the future of the station has now been assured.
“Ministers made clear from the very start that this was a genuine consultation process and no options for reform would be off the table. The fact that the final package improves so substantially on the original plans put forward by the MCA shows that this was no empty promise.”
Mr Carmichael said local people were strongly of the view that a round the clock service in both Shetland and Stornoway was necessary. He took that message to the heart of government and ministers had listened.
He added: “I am also pleased the minister confirmed that coastguard officers will see improvements in their pay and conditions, and training for coastguard volunteers will be strengthened. Progress on these particular issues has been a long time in coming and the changes that will be brought forward are an important part of the reform plans.”