MSP writes to Transport Minister over MV Isle of Lewis

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Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant is raising her concerns over the MV Isle of Lewis in a direct letter to the Scottish Government, Transport Minister, Keith Brown.

Rhoda Grant MSP is accusing the Transport Minister and Scottish Government of being “asleep at the wheel” on the issue of ferries.

The MV Isle of Lewis which provides the main transport link between the mainland and the Western Isles has been out of action on numerous occasions over recent months. Having recently returned to service following a refit, the MV Isle of Lewis has again been ruled out of action following a rudder fault which will mean the ferry has to return to dry dock in Liverpool to undergo repairs.

After the collision of the MV Clipper Ranger and MV Herbridean Isles within weeks of each other both at the same harbour, an investigation has now been launched into the incidents.

Rhoda Grant MSP said: “The Scottish Governments lack of concern over transport to the Western Isles is astounding. The replacement ferry that is currently serving the route takes almost 30 minutes longer to complete the journey and cannot carry freight meaning that only one freight sailing from Stornoway a day is taking place.

“Although a lot of freight is now going through Harris, there is insufficient capacity on the route which will lead to inevitable delays and potentially put hauliers at risk of breaching their contracts.

“I have written to the Scottish Government demanding to know how long they will let this situation continue and what contingencies they have in place to deal with this situation.

“The problem appears to be caused in part by the new piers, and there are also questions around how freight will be dealt with when the new MV Loch Seaforth is in dry dock for maintenance. This is yet another example of the Scottish Government getting its priorities wrong, the Transport Minister has been caught asleep at the wheel again instead of taking action to avoid these problems.

“This is just not good enough from the Scottish Government and it is certainly not good enough for the people and fragile economy of the Western Isles.”