§ Mr. Stephen Ross
asked the Minister for Trade whether he is satisfied that adequate protection of shipping lanes and coastline will be maintained in the light of the proposals to automate all but two of the nationwide chain of coastal radio stations and other changes planned by the coastguard and pilotage services.
§ Mr. Sproat
I am satisfied that the arrangements that British Telecom has proposed for the automation of coastal radio stations will have no adverse effects on marine safety. I am not sure what changes in the Coastguard services the hon. Member has in mind. I am satisfied that it is right to limit visual watch to occasions of heightened risk and to concentrate the resources of the regular Coastguard in the rescue centres. Pilotage services are provided by pilotage authorities under byelaws that require my right hon. and noble Friend's statutory consent; amendments to several such byelaws are under consideration but it will be a little time before conclusions are reached.