McArthur again presses for low emission replacement vessels

Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Wednesday) again pressed Ministers to agree to replacing Orkney’s internal ferry fleet.

During Finance Questions on support for funding for a ‘green recovery’, Mr McArthur highlighted the importance of reducing transport emissions in order to meet climate change targets.  He went on to urge the Minister for Public Finance, Ben Macpherson to commit to ensuring that Orkney’s ageing internal fleet will be replaced with more fuel-efficient vessels “in keeping with the urgency of the climate emergency and the needs of the island communities served by these ferries”.

In response, Mr Macpherson gave an undertaking to discuss the matter with the Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse.

Afterwards, Mr McArthur commented:

“The need to replace Orkney’s ageing internal ferry fleet grows ever more urgent.  This is essential if the service is to meet the current and future needs of the island communities that rely upon it as a lifeline.

“Yet this should also be at the heart of the government’s own strategy for a green recovery. We know, for example, that reducing transport emissions is key to Scotland meeting its climate change obligations. So Ministers need to set out how replacement of these ageing vessels, as well as others across the network, will be funded over the coming years. 

“As things stands, operating Orkney’s internal ferry fleet comes at an ever-increasing cost to the Council, island communities and the environment. That is just not sustainable. If the Scottish Government is serious about delivering a green recovery, and treating islanders fairly, it needs to invest in vessels that are fit for purpose”.

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