SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has spent today in Uist visiting businesses and meeting with user groups to discuss how ferry disruption this year has affected them.
This morning saw two of CalMac’s vessels out of action again due to technical faults, including MV Lord of the Isles which serves the route between Mallaig and Lochboisdale. This means that Lochboisdale is once again without a ferry service today, with the community waiting for news of how long this latest breakdown will take to be resolved.
The islands’ MSP is due to meet with the Transport Minister later this afternoon about the contingency measures for passengers travelling to and from the Western Isles while essential work is carried out on Uig pier this winter.
Commenting following his meetings in Uist today, Allan said:
“In my ongoing engagement with the Transport Minister, I have repeatedly made the point that transport uncertainty continues to undermine business confidence in the islands. The disruption experienced by island communities this year has been damaging for many local businesses and has caused extreme stress and worry for individuals needing to travel to the mainland for healthcare treatment or funerals, for example.
“On top of all of this, communities are understandably extremely apprehensive about the impact of Uig pier’s proposed lengthy closure this winter. Six months is a significant period of time for communities to have to endure travel disruption on this scale, during the winter months where adverse weather already regularly results in delays and cancellations. While I recognise the need for the work to take place, I am deeply concerned about the effect which a closure for this length of time would have on our islands’ economy, if robust mitigation arrangements are not swiftly agreed and implemented.”