Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan MSP earlier today raised the Uig Harbour Redevelopment Project with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP during this week’s session of First Minister’s Questions.
Changes to lifeline ferry routes are planned for a 6-month period from October 2022 while essential infrastructure works are carried out on behalf of the Highland Council on the pier Interim arrangements put forward by CalMac would see the removal of the ferry service to Tarbert and the loss of a third of capacity on the rerouted Lochmaddy-Ullapool service.
The islands MSP highlighted that there are still many unresolved issues and unknowns, and asked what consideration the Scottish Government has given to the option of postponing the works until viable interim arrangements can be put in place.
The First Minister responded that the Scottish Government was very aware of the concerns that communities have. The Transport Minister will be having meetings to discuss what further mitigation measures might be put in place. She stated that the suggestion to postpone the works is an option which continues to be considered but it does come with considerable risks.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“The Harris and Uist communities have expressed serious concerns about these issues. I am alarmed by the worries that some key local businesses have, and I have repeatedly highlighted the impracticality of combining the traffic and freight from the Tarbert ferry service with the existing run between Stornoway-Ullapool.
“If the Uig Harbour works necessitate the closure of the ferry pier, and alternatives cannot be found to continue ferry services between the Western Isles and Skye, arrangements must be put in place which maintain adequate capacity and resilience.
“I am very concerned that there are so many unknowns around transport arrangements and contingency so close to the planned closure of the pier.”
Video of the exchange can be found here.