The Hebrides Range Task Force (HRTF) has called on the Scottish Government to confirm that proposals for a new Lochboisdale – Mallaig ferry will be contained in the Final Ferries Plan.
The Task Force is also asking the Government to proceed with a pilot service on the route in 2013.
At a meeting in Benbecula last week, HRTF re-emphasised support for a Lochboisdale-Mallaig ferry service which is seen as a key step in developing and diversifying the economy of South Uist and the wider area.
The reintroduction of a Lochboisdale – Mallaig ferry service has been a long-term ambition of the community in both South Uist and the wider Outer Hebrides.
Speaking after the meeting the Chairman of HRTF and Leader of Comhairle nan Eiean Siar, Councillor Angus Campbell, said: “The Scottish Government Ferries Plan is due to be published before the end of this year and aims to set out the way forward for ferry services for the next ten years. It is essential for the economic well-being of South Uist and the wider Outer Hebrides that there are explicit committments in the Ferries Plan for a Lochboisdale - Mallaig service. Indeed it essential that the Government moves to a trial service at the very earliest opportunity in 2013. Given that the introduction of a Lochboisdale - Mallaig ferry is a key element of HRTF’s economic diversification stratgey for the local economy, HRTF would be happy to work in partnership with the Government and Transport Scotland to assist the introduction of that critical service.”
HRTF is an alliance of community and business groups, the Local Authority and agencies committed to the development of the islands. Members include: MP, MSP, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar , Chamber of Commerce, Outer Hebrides Hebrides Commerce Group, Third Sector Hebrides, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, local community councils and the local landowner, Storas Uibhist. HRTF was originally created to campaign against proposals to reduce Ministry of Defence operations at Hebrides Range on Benbecula and the Uists. Following the rejection of these proposals HRTF has focused its efforts on identifying new opportunities for the diversification of the local economy.