Future of ferry services to be discussed by comhairle

A meeting will be held between Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown in the coming weeks to discuss ferry services.

It follows public concern over the ability of the new £42 million ‘Loch Seaforth’ to cope with the increased amount of traffic on the Stornoway-Ullapool route when the vessel takes over from the smaller ‘Isle of Lewis’ later this year.

The freight vessel ‘Clipper Ranger’ is to be withdrawn from service, with the intention that commercial vehicles switch to the new ferry along with cars and passengers.

However, with many island residents unable to get a ferry booking through the summer as things stand, it is feared the situation will be even worse with only one vessel available.

At a meeting last month, tourism businesses and hauliers made their feelings known to representatives of Caledonian MacBrayne. It was decided then that the comhairle would write to Mr Brown.

Comhairle transportation chairman John MacKay said: “He has agreed to the meeting but we don’t have a date as yet. We hope that it will happen in the next few weeks.”