Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has written to the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, seeking an assurance that a new ‘bridge’ fund can be used to help address the long running ‘overtopping’ issue on the second Churchill barrier.
During a statement to parliament today (Tuesday), updating MSPs on budget proposals, following further investment announced by the UK Treasury, Ms Forbes confirmed that an additional £32million will be allocated to local bridges maintenance.
Following the statement, Mr McArthur commented:
“Hopefully today’s announcement signals a long overdue recognition by Scottish Ministers that government needs to help fund the capital costs of lifeline transport links, including the replacement of Orkney’s ageing internal ferry fleet.
“Meantime, I welcome the announcement of a fund to support investment in bridges and causeways, which also provide a lifeline for many islanders.
“In Orkney, the hazardous conditions caused by ‘overtopping’ on the second Churchill barrier have posed a significant and growing risk to vehicle drivers over many years now.
“Despite various options being explored by the Council, no solution has yet been deemed both feasible and affordable. In that context, the fund announced by the Finance Secretary could and should play a role in finally unlocking a solution to this long-running problem.
“I have written to Kate Forbes seeking confirmation that the fund can be used in this way and look forward to discussions taking place with OIC on a way forward.”