Comhairle calls for consultation over planned ferry disruption

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have responded to the announced disruption on the Stornoway to Ullapool route in the New Year as a result of works to the linkspan at Ullapool harbour.

The works to the Ullapool linkspan will mean that the car transport service between Lewis and the mainland is suspended for four to six weeks.

The council are to understand that Cal Mac will consult with relevant authorities to arrange an alternative route.

Cllr John Mackay, Chair of Transportation and Infrastructure on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “Whilst we accept the need for works it is unacceptable that there has been no consultation with the people and businesses of the Western Isles who will be directly affected by this disruption nor the representatives of the affected communities.

“It is unfortunate that, after the level of consultation and information provided during the consideration of options associated with the extension works at Ullapool and its successful delivery, we are now in this situation where there has been no consultation and a lack of information for these subsequent works.

“I would hope that, following consultation, alternatives can be found which will have the least impact on ferry users.”

Highlands and Islands (Scottish Labour) MSP, Rhoda Grant has expressed her concern. She said: “Six weeks of disruption to car ferry services between Ullapool and Stornoway will create huge difficulties for those seeking to travel on the route next year. Whilst an alternative route from Uig could be introduced, this will mean that many car ferry passengers are out of pocket by having to potentially drive further to access the ferry.

“Further, if alternative sailings for car ferry passengers and commercial vehicles are not direct from Ullapool to Stornoway, and instead leave Uig and arrive in to Tarbet, then many passengers will also face and extended journey on arrival and departure in order to get where they are going, making the journey wholly inconvenient.”

“I will be writing to Cal Mac and the Scottish Government to ask what route options they are considering to minimise disruption to vehicles and car ferry passengers during the six week installation of the new link span to Ullapool next year.”