Highlands & Islands

Ullapool-Stornoway car ferry service could be disrupted

MV Isle of Lewis Image copyright Colin Smith/Geograph
Image caption The MV Isle of Lewis operates on the Ullapool to Stornoway route

Car ferry sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool are likely to be suspended for six weeks next year to allow for the installation of a new linkspan.

Ullapool Harbour Trust has asked Transport Scotland to replace its 42-year-old structure.

A new two-lane linkspan has been proposed so vehicles can move on and off ferries quicker and more quietly.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne said it was "working through options" to minimise impact on customers.

Passenger services would not be affected by work to install a new linkspan.

BBC Scotland understands that vehicles could be taken from Uig on Skye to Stornoway on Lewis.

A Calmac spokesman said: "We are currently working through our options to find a way of minimising the impact on our customers of the planned works on Ullapool linkspan in the early part of 2015 and will make an announcement in due course once all options have been fully explored.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption The MV Loch Seaforth is expected to arrive in Scotland soon

"We would prefer not to comment on any specific option at this stage."

The spokesman added that the company did not envisage the work at Ullapool would have any effect on the introduction of a new ferry on the route.

The MV Isle of Lewis is to be replaced by the £41.8m MV Loch Seaforth. The new vessel is due in Scotland soon following construction at a yard in Germany.

'No consultation'

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said it had received confirmation that ferry services would be disrupted for six weeks early next year.

Transportation and infrastructure committee chairman John Mackay said information had been lacking on the linkspan project.

He said: "Whilst we accept the need for works, it is unacceptable that there has been no consultation with the people and businesses of the Western Isles who will be directly affected by this disruption, nor the representatives of the affected communities.

"It is unfortunate that, after the level of consultation and information provided during the consideration of options associated with the extension works at Ullapool and its successful delivery, we are now in this situation where there has been no consultation and a lack of information for these subsequent works."

Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil said that while Calmac was working on ways to ease the disruption, the issue should have been flagged up sooner.

More on this story

Related Internet links

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