Highlands & Islands

Coastguard cuts petition gathered for 10 Downing Street

A petition urging the UK government to protect Scottish coastguard stations from closure or downgrading has been handed in to 10 Downing Street.

Campaigners have gathered 28,000 names to the call for the sites on the Western Isles and Shetland to be saved from cuts.

The government and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have proposed changes to the service to modernise it.

Campaigners include Western Isles and Northern Isles councils.

Councillors have concerns about the futures of the coastguard stations in Stornoway on Lewis, in the Western Isles, and Lerwick, on Shetland.

The Shetland station also covers Orkney.

The petition also asks that two emergency tugs leased by the MCA are not withdrawn from service.

The vessels cover the Minch between the Western Isles and mainland Scotland and the sea around the Northern Isles.

Public consultation on modernisation is being held by the UK government and MCA.

The UK transport committee has also been holding an inquiry into the proposals.

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