Holyrood debates Lochboisdale-Mallaig ferry

From Democracy Live: Labour MSP Elaine Murray led the debate on ferry services

Related Stories

Reintroducing a ferry service between Lochboisdale in South Uist and Mallaig on the mainland is being considered, the Scottish government has said.

The route, axed in the 1990s, would involve a shorter crossing than what is offered on the current Lochboisdale to Oban sailing.

During a debate secured by Labour, Infrastructure Minister Alex Neil said campaigners' calls were being heard.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said the Mallaig service made economic sense.

She said a sailing to Mallaig would take three-and-a-half hours, while it was a six-and-a-half hour trip to Oban.

Ms Grant said the withdrawal of road equivalent tariff (RET) - a low-cost ferry fare scheme - from large commercial vehicles added to the need for the shorter crossing.

She said: "This policy will have a detrimental effect on all the islands, but especially those with the longest crossings.

"The government appears to have no concept of the disadvantage caused by geography."

Pros and cons

Mr Neil said the government was listening "very, very carefully" to campaigners.

He said pros and cons of asking ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) to reintroduce the service had to be considered.

The minister added: "There are pros, but also cons, not least that the capital cost and resource cost of reintroducing a direct service do need to be addressed."

Campaign group Missing Link said the government's assessment that it would cost £26m to reinstate the service was wrong.

Ronnie MacKinnon, chairman of Missing Link member organisation Lochboisdale Community Council, said: "They don't need a new vessel - there is already a spare vessel in the CalMac fleet.

"The MV Isle of Arran has been sitting idle, docked at Campbeltown for the last fortnight doing nothing.

"She could easily be deployed on the Lochboisdale Mallaig route at no extra cost."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Highlands & Islands

Weather

Inverness

Min. Night 6 °C

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.