Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has reacted to the news that the linkspans at Lochboisdale and Castlebay Ferry Terminals are set to close for emergency repairs.

Lochboisdale Ferry Terminal will be closed for two weeks from 24 September for essential work to replace wire lifting ropes after a routine inspection by specialist engineers a revealed a number of lifting ropes on the linkspan needed to be urgently replaced.

Castlebay Ferry Terminal also needs to have the lifting ropes on its linkspan replaced, although mitigation measures in place will allow safe ongoing operation for a longer period. Dates for the replacement work will be identified by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL).

Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“This is incredibly frustrating for the community in South Uist. Both ends of the summer timetable are now set to see two-week closure periods. This is in addition to the significant disruption they have had to endure throughout the year.

“CalMac need to urgently consult with local businesses and identify mitigation measures to put in place during the closure periods.

“The closure length and dates for Castlebay also need to be clarified as soon as possible. We need more information so that communities and businesses can know what they are dealing with.

“The community in South Uist campaigned long and hard for their own dedicated route to the mainland. Both communities have seen huge benefits since 2016 from having dedicated vessels. However, the unreliability of the service puts these benefits at risk.

“These closures underline the critical need for accelerated investment in both upgraded infrastructure and news vessels for South Uist and Barra, including the need to move ahead soon with decisions on a new ferry terminal site in Lochboisdale.”

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