In a press release concerning proposed ship-to-ship oil transfers at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth, John Finnie, MSP, provides links which contrast the recent statement of Councillor Maxine Smith, Leader of the SNP Group on the Highland Council to the stance of Richard Lochhead, MSP, back in 2007.
John, who will be standing as a Green List candidate for the Holyrood elections states in relation to similar ship to ship transfers that were proposed in the Firth of Forth:
"In his first speech as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment in 2007 (24th May), Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, said that “many members of the public and members across the Parliament consider that even a scintilla of environmental risk is unacceptable.”
"Mr Lochhead continued: “I believe that the Parliament—and, indeed, Scotland—desires to be able to prevent ship-to-ship oil transfers and proposals that could pose a threat to our precious marine and coastal environments in the Firth of Forth or elsewhere. That is what I intend to achieve.”"
Mr Finnie goes on: "Yet, as the consultation about the proposed plans by Cromarty Firth Port Authority to transfer oil between ships at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth draws to a close, the response from Richard Lochhead and the SNP Government has been bewildering. "
This issue of proposed ship-to-ship oil transfers is boiling away on local social media groups and this observer would imagine that that is being repeated in other parts of the Moray Firth. One would imagine too that the many thousands of photographers and other wildlife enthusiasts that visit the Cromarty beaches to see the Dolphins and other wildlife every year will also be showing an interest in the proposed ship-to-ship transfers. Many local residents will also be wishing to hear the views of local SNP MPs and MSPs on the matter. Anyway John Finnie's views are emphatic, he states:
"“This operation is unsafe, unnecessary and undesirable. In my view, and the view of the affected communities, it simply must not go ahead.”
Links provided in John Finnie's release are as follows:
Richard Lochhead’s full speech can be found here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/sp/?id=2007-05-24.112.0
Scottish Government response featured including comments attributed to Cllr Maxine Smith in this news article: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/outlander-author-backs-petition-to-protect-dolphins-1-4013997