Letter: Coasts in peril

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The Independent Online
Sir: We would like to express our deep horror and sadness at the environmental catastrophe that has hit Shetland. Anger and frustration at such an event happening in our island area is felt as strongly by all Orcadians as it is by the people of Shetland.

These feelings are not alleviated by the hypocrisy of central government. When part of one of the homes of the richest woman in the world was burnt down, the Government immediately pledged unlimited money to repair it. We are therefore aghast at the lack of commitment by the Secretary of State for Scotland to prevent financial hardship in Shetland.

The Government failed to learn any lessons from the Exxon Valdez - unlike the US, which acted unilaterally to protect its coastline. The Government has also disregarded the pleas and advice of our local MP.

What is the use of the UK Government? It is high time that Orkney and Shetland were given powers to protect their own coastlines. If the Government will not act to enforce measures for the safety of our coastlines and inshore fishing, then Orkney and Shetland must act together, with the help of the European Community if necessary, to do so.

Yours faithfully,

SPENCER J. ROSIE

MARGARET T. FLAWS

Orkney Movement

Kirkwall, Orkney

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