Essential i nfrastructure works are due to start at Uig harbour this October. The interim arrangements that CalMac put forward would see the removal of all ferry services to Tarbert and the loss of a third of the capacity to Lochmaddy during the six-month closure period. Given that there are still a great many unknowns and unresolved issues, what consideration has the Scottish Government given to the option of postponing the works until viable interim arrangements can be put in place?
I know that the Minister for Transport is very aware of the concerns that communities have in relation to the planned Uig harbour closure. That project is ultimately led by Highland Council, but I understand that the Transport Minister has agreed to meet with Alasdair Allan, in addition to meeting with the community board, to discuss what further mitigations we might be able to support.
The suggestion of postponing the port closure and delaying the completion of works is an option that continues to be considered, but it comes with considerable risks.
The clear focus of the project remains the safe and efficient replacement of infrastructure that is “life-expired”—to use the technical term—and improvement of the capacity, reliability and resilience of the port at Uig for the longer-term benefits of routes to the Western Isles.