Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan earlier today raised capacity issues on ferry routes to the Western Isles during a COVID-19 Update at a virtual sitting of the Scottish Parliament.

The islands MSP said that physical distancing regulations have seen passenger capacity across the CalMac network drop to 35% of normal levels and highlighted the serious challenges this has presented to island life.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon responded by saying she recognised the frustration and pressures this situation causes for islanders and stated that the Scottish Government is exploring the chartering of an additional vessel to provide extra capacity on the Stornoway – Ullapool route.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“The lack of bookable ferry capacity across Western Isles routes is having an impact on all aspects of island life.

“Right now, it is nearly 3 weeks before a car can be booked on the Ullapool to Stornoway crossing, with a similar picture on other Western Isles routes. Measures like ‘show and go’ spaces are helpful - particularly to islanders - but they are not something that people can rely on when it comes to planning journeys.

“I very much welcome the willingness of the Scottish Government to look at chartering an additional vessel for the Stornoway to Ullapool crossing and I hope to hear more in the coming weeks.”

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