Please see below a joint statement released today by West Ardnamurchan Community Council and Ardnamurchan Tourist Association in reaction to the Scottish Ferries Plan, published yesterday (available here ). The Scottish Government are seeking community’s views on the proposal so please please write to let them know what a disaster the removal of the vehicle ferry would be for us. An online questionnaire is available here, or responses and comments can be sent to Transport Scotland at the address at the bottom of the page.
The statement is as follows:
“West Ardnamurchan Community Council are horrified by the Scottish Government’s proposal in the Scottish Ferries Plan to replace the current vehicle and passenger service from Kilchoan to Tobermory with a passenger-only service. The local economy in West Ardnamurchan is predominantly based on tourism, the majority of which comes via the ferry to and from Tobermory; without it, Kilchoan essentially becomes a dead end, stranded at least an hour and half from Fort William. The effect of this on local business is unimaginable.
“The report’s claim that a passenger vessel would allow the existing needs of the local community to be met is simply not based on fact and is yet another example of those living in the most remote and rural areas of the country being sidelined and neglected. Yes, many local people travel to Tobermory as passengers, to shop, to use dental services and to visit friends and family, but many more would use the vehicle service if the fares were not so prohibitive. The current cost for a family of 4 to take a car over and back is nearly £70, a considerable outlay before you’ve even started your day out!
“In other areas the introduction of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme resulted in 23 per cent more cars and 14 per cent more passengers. We have not yet been lucky enough to benefit from this scheme but it is apparently to be rolled out to the Tobermory-Kilchoan route within the term of this Parliament, and there is every reason to believe that passenger numbers here will increase accordingly. It is ridiculous to base a decision on our ferry on figures that will be out of date by the time of its implementation.
“In 2009, in relation to the RET scheme, Alex Salmond said:"The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring all remote and fragile communities have direct links to the greater Scottish economy”. We urge him and his Minster for Transport to ensure that these were not hollow words said in pre-election days.”
Rosemary Curtis, Chair of West Ardnamurchan Community Council
"The Ardnamurchan Tourist Association take the view that this review has been carried out looking at island communities in isolation, excluding the communities that support the ferries on the main land - 'Scotland’s island communities make a substantial contribution to the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of our nation. Ferry links to these islands and our remote communities are therefore an integral part of Scotland’s transport network.' - SCOTTISH FERRY SERVICES DRAFT PLAN FOR CONSULTATION DECEMBER 2011
"The summary for the Mull section of the report is solely looking at the benefits of an improved service between Craigure to Oban ignoring the economic impact a reduction in service or change to passenger only provision would have on the remote mainland communities of Ardnamurchan and Morvern. As one of the main entry points for visitors to Ardnamurchan, the Kilchoan ferry is essential to both the community and businesses. The tourist route from Mull to Skye via Ardnamurchan is well known and well used. I echo WACC in the unimaginable effect the change to a passenger only service would have on the fragile tourism economy of our area. The RET MUST be allowed to be implemented and for numbers to be reviewed thereafter."
Susan MacDonald, Chair of Ardnamurchan Tourist Association
Address to contact Transport Scotland:
Tel: 0131-244-1539 Email: email@example.com