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Background Info

A reintroduced Lochboisdale to Mallaig service would fit the growing pattern of shorter ferry routes for the benefit of the Southern Isles and for Mallaig and their surrounding area, making it a natural option to boost tourism and the local economy for both communities. But for many reasons, including a refusal by the previous Scottish Executive, as outlined above, this has not been established.

The re-introduction of this service has been supported by MSP Alasdair Allan, MP Angus Brendan MacNeil, community councils, and local councillors, together with local businesses on both the mainland and the islands. In addition, consultations carried out by both independent consultants and the Comhairle have indicated overwhelming support for the re-introduction of this service.

Currently the vehicular ferry route entails a staggering seven hour journey to Oban, regularly via the Isle of Barra. Stòras Uibhist and the community have long campaigned to change to a more suitable and economical route to the mainland. The re-introduction of this service has been supported by MSP Alasdair Allan and MP Angus Brendan MacNeil and consultations done with the people indicate the large amount of support for this service. Community councils and councillors as well as local businesses on both the mainland and the islands have given their full support to this service.

The huge benefit of a three hour journey to Mallaig instead of five to seven hours to Oban speaks for itself.

The STAG appraisal completed on the introduction of this route clearly demonstrated the benefits it would bring. The inclusion of the route in the CHFS tender documents demonstrated that the Scottish Government had approved its introduction. Only the failure of CMAL and CalMac to secure a vessel to serve this route prevented its introduction.

Recently a ship has become available within the CMAL/CalMac fleet that could be used on the proposed reintroduced route. The benefits to Lochboisdale and the wider community would be hugely advantageous through increased tourism and businesses activity on both sides of the water.

The people of South Uist have been fighting for a re-introduction of this ferry since 1992. The lack of a proper service to the Southern Isles is curtailing the economic and social growth of our region. The current route is out dated and definitely not meeting the needs of the people. Local people are missing out on the opportunity for an improved transport system and a boost to the economy.

Repeated consultations have demonstrated strong local support for the introduction of the service, including the latest series of consultation events in 2011.

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