Ferries: Wishart quizzes Cabinet Secretary on Shetland’s exclusion from national plan

Convening the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment (RAINE) Committee today (Wednesday 4th May) Shetland’s MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for the Islands about Shetland’s lifeline internal ferry services exclusion from the Scottish Government's Islands Connectivity Plan.

The plan is due to be the successor to Ferries Plan and has been delayed due to Covid-19 disruption. The Cabinet Secretary stated that a consultation on the plan is hoped to be live by the end of the year. A Scottish Government official told Wishart that they were working with Transport Scotland to consult with communities and that the body is giving regard to aviation, fixed links and onward travel from islands. Wishart was also assured a full response to her question, after consultation with Transport Scotland colleagues, would be provided in writing to the committee.

Wishart asked the Cabinet Secretary:

Could I ask about the Islands Connectivity Plan which is going to replace the Ferries Plan by the end of 2022. Orkney and Shetland’s internal ferry services are excluded from the Islands Connectivity Plan, so I wonder if you could explain the reason for excluding the Northern Isles in the plan and what can be done to provide communities with the lifeline ferry services they desperately need?

After the committee Ms Wishart said:

“I look forward to reading the full response from the Islands Secretary and Transport Scotland.

“It is baffling that a national plan for islands connectivity excludes two islands groups.

“The Northern Isles need transport and infrastructure just as any other community in Scotland.

“Islanders rely on ferries and the Scottish Government is not instilling confidence that they can provide communities with the lifeline services they need.”




Notes to editors

You can watch Ms Wishart’s question here.

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