Na H-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has expressed disappointment that a trial Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry service has been held up for further consultation.
The Isles MP contactedTransport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, regarding the trial and expressed his disappointment that a final decision on a service will not be made until Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar consult further with the communities of Barra and South Uist.
Mr MacNeil commented:“This issue has now been ongoing for a few years now, and despite the clear widespread support for Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry service, it is disappointing to hear that it is highly unlikely that a trial service will be put in operation over the summer. I believe that this ferry route would of great benefit to the local economy and that a trial should be in place for the 2011 tourist season.
“I realise in the current economic climate that lack of finance is and will hinder many projects from happening, but, I and many others feel that a Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry service will be of huge economic importance to South Uist, especially since the introduction of RET, which has seen the numbers of passengers and vehicles on services from the Western Isles to mainland ports increase substantially since October 2008.”
He has now asked Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar to write to the Transport Minister and request that he consider trialling the MV Isle of Arran on the Lochboisdale to Mallaig run over two months this coming summer, while the ferry is available.
“They should not wait until the outcome of Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar’s consultation on a Lochboisdale to Mallaig service is known, this has to happen this summer, as it is better having a ferry in use rather than being tied up at a pier,” said Mr MacNeil.