Local News for Thursday 30th August 2018
£3.5m FUND TO KEEP FERRIES SHIPSHAPE
Scotland’s lifeline ferry services are to receive £3.5 million from the Scottish Government to reduce the risk of vessels breaking down and to return them to service quicker if they do.
The move was announced by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson at a public meeting on the island of Arran.
The aim is to tackle obsolescence on the vessels, which would take the ferry out of service for an extended period of time. The fund will be used to start a programme of obsolescence upgrades during the overhaul period this winter and to procure replacement parts for obsolete equipment. These parts will be installed at the next appropriate maintenance opportunity.
Mr Matheson said: “We are very much aware that, as our ferries age, additional resources will be needed to keep the vessels running so our island communities stay connected.
“The funds will be used to upgrade or replace key systems and equipment on the vessels. This will be tackled on a priority basis to avoid potential vessel breakdowns and delays to the ferry service and customers.
“During the forthcoming overhaul period this winter, CMAL and CalMac will initiate the obsolescence programme of upgrades and spare part procurement. This will provide future resilience providing, in the longer term, increased vessel reliability and availability.
LOTTERY WIN FOR STORNOWAY NEIGHBOURS
Two people in Stornoway were jumping for joy this week after waking up to the news that their lucky postcode, HS1 2PQ, has scooped People’s Postcode Lottery’s Daily Prize.
The Anderson Road residents have scooped cheques for an amazing £1,000 each thanks to the win.
People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt offered her congratulations and said: “Well done to our winners in Stornoway today – it’s always great to see neighbours share the joy of winning together.”
A minimum of 32% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised £330 million to date for 4,000 good causes across Great Britain and internationally.
One good cause close to the winners that players have helped to support is The Stornoway Trust, which received £20,000 last year to re-establish the tree nursery within the Castle Grounds.
For more information on People’s Postcode Lottery, visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk
FRUSTRATION OVER NEW FERRY DELAY
The Comhairle has expressed its disappointment and frustration at the recent announcement that the new ferry which is to be allocated on the Uig-Lochmaddy-Tarbert route will not now be entering service until at least summer 2020.
The Comhairle is reacting to the recent announcement by Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, that the two new vessels currently being built by Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, the MV Glen Sannox and Vessel 802, are now scheduled for delivery during summer 2019 and spring 2020 respectively.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said:
"The delivery of the vessel was scheduled for early 2018 and since then representatives from the Comhairle have worked productively with colleagues from Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) and CalMac Ferries Ltd to inform the design of the vessel and the scope, design and procurement of infrastructure improvements required at the Comhairle’s pier facilities at Lochmaddy to accommodate her. There has been much speculation around timescales recently and whilst we recognise the benefits the building of the two new vessels on the Clyde will bring to the economy of that area and welcome that a handover date has now been confirmed by the responsible Cabinet Secretary, we are disappointed that there will a delay of now well over two years to the final availability. This is a significant and critical issue for the islands in that the continuing lack of capacity during the peak summer period will mean continuing constraints to the growth of important business sectors in the islands such as tourism and aquaculture. We urge the Government and CMAL to ensure that, going forward, sufficient resources are targeted to the build projects so that there is no further risk to the handover and in-service dates”.