McArthur criticises ‘mend and make do’ approach to lifeline ferries

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Wednesday) criticised the Scottish Government’s "mend and make do" approach to lifeline ferry services.

During a debate on Scotland's ferry services, Mr McArthur said SNP Ministers have "failed to grasp either the importance or urgency of this issue." He said islanders "cannot afford to wait until crisis point" before action is taking to replace Orkney's ageing ferry fleet.

Mr McArthur reminded the chamber that Orkney's ageing fleet has cost a "small fortune" to run, is "increasingly unreliable" and a "disaster" for the environment. He called for a "proper strategic plan" for the procurement of new vessels and an end to the "mend and make do" approach.

During his speech, Mr McArthur said:

"While CalMac's calamities on the west coast have grabbed all the headlines, the situation in Orkney is scarcely less precarious.

"We know Orkney's fleet already falls far below the minimum standards set out in the government’s own Ferries Plan published almost a decade ago.

"While recent additional funding is welcome, if long overdue, we urgently need to see a proper strategic plan and timetable for the procurement of new, low-carbon ferries.

"SNP Ministers can’t simply wait until crisis point before taking action. These are lifeline services and islanders and our island communities deserve better."

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