14 August 2019

Clearly, we have several issues with internal and external transport in Shetland and it often feels like we are being left behind with initiatives like hydrogen ferries in Orkney and tunnels connecting islands throughout Faroe and Scandinavia.

The SIC have confirmed not receiving the fair funding for ferries yet and our fleet is aging with ferries out of service, and one ferry only running on some routes at peak times causing increasing hardship and disadvantage to islanders.

Islanders clearly should be consulted on what they think of the service and if the government are serious about climate change, they, along with the SIC, need to think of ways to reduce the enormous SIC spending on diesel for the ferries.

If a majority of the islanders want fixed links then we need to find ways of delivering this.

Routes without fixed links could be run by ferries which are designed to be much greener and adequate for the job.

The Northlink ferry service was hampered from the outset by ferries which were designed for the market rather than for Shetlanders.

Lack of cabins and space for freight and livestock have long been issues.

It is a shame that the SNP have now bought the boats and Aberdeen is not able to take larger ferries so there is no room for improvement in the immediate future, except for running more ferries.

The cost of the ferry to Aberdeen has also been a bone of contention and neither Tavish nor the SNP grasp the fact that our journey is different because it is overnight, and a cabin is a necessity and not a luxury, which costs a family the same or more than a peak season city hotel room.

Moving forward I will campaign for a bed on the boat to be included in the lifeline fare.

I welcome the nationalisation of the service which ensures that profits are reinvested in the service and its staff.

As to air travel, the parking has become ridiculous at Sumburgh airport and folk are going to great lengths to park away from the terminal.

It is time HIAL saw sense and stopped adding to our disadvantage as an island community.

HIAL are facing budget cuts, made by the SNP government, so they are charging us, passing on Tory austerity to our already fragile and expensive transport infrastructure.
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