Published: Friday, 17 October 2014 07:30
New ferries procurement starts
News that the procurement process has started for a new ferry to serve the Tarbert/Lochmaddy/Uig route has received a welcome from local politicians – even though the announcement from Scottish Government yesterday seemed to take them by surprise. The procurement process to build the new ferry was launched this week by Transport Minister Keith Brown.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd has begun the preliminary work ahead of a formal invitation to tender for two new ferries, one for the inter-island route serving Harris and North Uist.
The first vessel is to be delivered by the end of 2017. Mr Brown said: “The ferries are being designed to provide a fully flexible year-round service for Arran and the Uig Triangle, subject to final review by CalMac Ferries Ltd, CMAL and Transport Scotland.”
Tom Docherty, CMAL’s Chief Executive, said: "This demonstrates CMAL's commitment to providing lifeline ferries to communities on the Western Isles and the west coast of Scotland.” Harris Councillor Philip McLean said "Mention was made at last week’s Harris Transport Forum meeting of the long term plans for a new vessel on this route, so an announcement so soon after is to be greatly welcomed." Islands MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan also welcomed the announcement. Dr Allan said: “This is the clearest indication yet of serious new money going into the Uig triangle routes, and any progress towards a new vessel will be welcomed in both Harris and Uist.”
Read more: Local News for Friday 17th October 2014
Published: Thursday, 16 October 2014 07:30
2p per unit extra for electricity
Islanders are paying 2p per unit more for electricity than customers anywhere else in Scotland, according to the Western Isles Poverty Action Group. Chair of the group Cllr Angus McCormack yesterday said the 2p a unit surcharge apparently being made by SSE was ‘a national disgrace’. He said: “Members of the Western Isles Poverty Action Group were astounded to learn that SSE imposes a surcharge on all Highlands and Islands customers of two pence per unit. The Outer Hebrides has the highest fuel poverty figures in Scotland and a two pence reduction in unit costs would have a significant impact. The PAG call on the Scottish Government to resolve this iniquity as a matter of urgency."
Read more: Local News for Thursday October 16th 2014