In the Scottish Parliament’s opposition debate on the Scottish Government’s handling of ferry contracts, Ariane Burgess, Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, emphasised that the Scottish Government needs to fully consider and consult with affected communities and prioritise long-term planning and decarbonising the fleet.
“I hear and feel the profound impact that ongoing ferry disruption has had on my constituents.
“It is vital to centre them in this debate and in all our plans to improve ferry services.
“Our islands are not museums; they are living, breathing communities with ferries as their vital arteries.
“Every cancelled ferry trip for islanders is an appointment missed, a job unfinished or a shop unstocked.
“Earlier this year I welcomed plans to expand the current fleet – to build in redundancy over the winter and add capacity in the summer – but I continue to urge that those new vessels be low carbon, for example the electric ferries running on renewable energy in Sweden and Denmark.
“These lifeline services are essential to community life, so it is only reasonable that they should be governed by those same communities.
“Local people understand the nuances and connection these ferries have with their communities, and they are best placed to support the replacement and upgrading of Scotland’s ferries.”