MSP urges Islanders to "pile on the pressure" over ferry route
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Peter Peacock, has urged supporters of the Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry service to "pile on the pressure" to persuade the Transport Minister to drop his opposition to the scheme.
Speaking after receiving answers to a series of Parliamentary questions about the ferry route and journey times on the improving road from Mallaig, Peter Peacock said,
"I think we are just beginning to get the Minister on the run here.
"One of his answers seems designed to give him some room for manoeuvre to change his decision not to back the ferry route and another answer indicates there would be real time savings for journeys to the mainland from Lochboisdale if this ferry route was approved.
"The Minister has agreed to meet local people in late January and by that time the local support for the ferry route should be made loud and clear.
"I urge everyone interested to write to me, so I can pass on the level of support to the Minister.
"I will open an on-line petition on my website to allow those who want to register their support on-line.
"It is very clear there is benefit for South Uist and more widely to be had from opening up this route and with significant road improvements from Mallaig south, it becomes a potentially really good news story.
"If we can keep the pressure on the Minister there is a chance he will go into reverse gear and back local people to get what they want, so now is the time to up the profile of the campaign for the ferry and get the Minister on the move."
The petition can be signed by visiting Peter Peacock's website at : www.peterpeacock.org.uk
Write to Peter at :
Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs office
Po Box 5717
Peter Peacock’s Parliamentary questions to Stewart Stevenson
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive when it considers that it will serve a useful purpose for the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change to visit Lochboisdale.
Answered by Stewart Stevenson (3 December 2007): I am unable to visit Lochboisdale at this time but I am meeting interested parties from South Uist in Edinburgh on 22 January 2008.
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will reconsider
its decision not to include a ferry from Lochboisdale to Mallaig as part of the
Caledonian MacBrayne contracted ferry routes.
Answered by Stewart Stevenson (3 December 2007): The current service specification for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services is not "set in stone". CalMac Ferries Ltd are free to suggest alterations to the timetable that are affordable and that do not adversely impact on the services to the communities.
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive what benefits a direct
Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry service would give to the residents of
Lochboisdale and its surrounding communities.
Answered by Stewart Stevenson (3 December 2007): The STAG appraisal undertaken in 2005 sought to establish the benefits of introducing a direct service between Mallaig to Lochboisdale that did not impact on other services on the network.
The appraisal concluded that there were potential positive benefits to both the Western Isles and Mallaig. However the appraisal noted that a large proportion of the increase in economic activities in South Uist and Mallaig would be the result of displacement from communities served by existing ferry services. The appraisal also concluded that while there would be some demand for such a service the vast majority of demand would be displaced from existing services with little net increase in the number of trips.
The main benefit to the community in Lochboisdale of a direct Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry service would be a shorter crossing time
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