North Sea helicopter safety inquiry ‘too long and expensive’, says Scottish Secretary

Wreckage of the helicopter after the August crash which killed four people is buffeted by the surf off the Shetland mainland
Wreckage of the helicopter after the August crash which killed four people is buffeted by the surf off the Shetland mainland

A public inquiry into helicopter safety in the North Sea could be too “long and expensive”, new Scottish secretary Alastair Carmichael has warned.

Trade unions and some north-east MPs have called for a judge-led probe following five helicopter ditchings in the last four years.

Asked what the UK Government would do to allay fears, Mr Carmichael said: “I think we need to get all the different reports that have been commissioned and see what they say first.

“I think whatever we do, it has to maintain the confidence of the workers who use these helicopters.”

Critics have said the fact that there are currently five different inquiries under way is a “piecemeal” approach.

Mr Carmichael added: “I think that is something we might have to look at. Let’s concentrate on dealing with this one incident first, see what that produces, and then see where we take it from there.

“I’m not a great fan of judicial public inquiries, they do tend to be long and expensive, and not particularly effective, but we make that call when we see what the reports all say.”

Read more from Alastair Carmichael in today’s Press and Journal

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