David Stewart MSP

Stewart Calls for Ferries Inquiry

 

Highlands and Islands Regional Labour MSP David Stewart, who is a member of the Transport Committee of the Scottish Parliament, has called on the committee to undertake a major inquiry into ferries.

Mr Stewart attended a two-day meeting of the committee last week at Dunkeld.

 

Speaking later he said, “Undoubtedly the whole issue of ferry transport is one of the most important rural transport issues facing the Highlands and Islands and indeed Scotland as a whole.”

 

“During my recent visits to Argyll and Bute, the Western Isles and Shetland this was the number one issue raised by local authorities, the health boards and island communities.

 

“The speed, availability and cost of ferries have a major bearing on the viability of many island communities and add greatly to the overall cost of living, the availability of goods, inward investment and tourism.

 

“At a time when the new administration has set up an inquiry into Road Equivalent Tariff, with a pilot scheme to operate to the Western Isles, it seems a very appropriate time for the committee to look at the whole question of ferries.

 

“This should include not just RET but the entire question of tendering processes, development of new routes and the costs borne by both pedestrians and vehicle travellers, in going between the mainland and the islands.

 

“The internal council operated ferry routes within the islands groups should also be scrutinised for possible improvements in methods of financing and service delivery.”

 

Mr Stewart added, “I have asked the committee not just to follow the usual procedures for an inquiry but to commit to visiting the islands, particularly Shetland.

 

“Only by visiting the islands and meeting with those who live and work there, can committee members fully appreciate the significance of ferry links to our island communities.”

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Written by davidstewart

September 6, 2007 at 11:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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