Continued pressure on MCA in meeting on coastguard helicopter service

17 Jan 2024

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has warned that a review into the future of coastguard helicopter must include a full risk assessment, following a meeting with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency today. Joining a meeting to discuss the future of the helicopter services from both Sumburgh and Stornaway organised by Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, the MCA confirmed that its review into the proposals will report in July of this year.

Mr Carmichael previously led a debate in Parliament to raise local concerns about plans to change the Sumburgh helicopter response time from 15 minutes to a full hour, and secured agreement from ministers to review the proposals.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Carmichael said:

“This was a useful meeting to re-state the serious concerns people in the isles have about planned cutbacks to the coastguard helicopter. Confirmation that the review will report back in July this year is welcome but we have to see what form this review will take.

“Any review which does not include a full risk assessment of the proposals is not worth the paper on which it is written. This is not just a matter of the number of callouts – the proposed quadrupling of response times would make the helicopter search-and-rescue service far less able to respond to the most dangerous situations at sea.

“We also need clarity from the MCA on how their agreement with Bristow progressed so far without any consultation in the communities affected – and why Bristow employees were being briefed on the plans while the rest of us were still in the dark. We are making progress, but the MCA will have to make greater efforts to restore trust with island communities.”

This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.