The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee members agreed the Outline Business Case Final Report for investment in new ferries and shoreside infrastructure for the Corran Ferry service.
The Council owns, funds, and operates the service, which is the busiest single vessel operated route in Scotland, carrying over 270,000 cars each year, delivering 30,000 sailings from early morning to late in the evening, 363 days of the year.
Chair of the Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans said:
“A lot of work has gone into getting to this stage so I would like to thank our staff, the Corrin Ferry Steering Group, and all stakeholders, especially the communities for their effort and commitment to securing a future for the ferry service.
“As part of the work we commissioned a socio-economic study which highlights that the Corran Ferry is an essential lifeline service that serves a wide variety of purposes including providing access to employment and other key services for residents, acting as a gateway for tourists visiting the peninsula, and supporting the supply-chain needs of the above communities as well as those of the Isle of Mull.
“Now we have agreed a robust Outline Business Case Final Report we look forward to continuing to working closely with all stakeholders, including both UK and Scottish Governments, to secure the external funding required to make this investment and safeguard the ferry service for generations to come.”
Located approximately seven miles south of Fort William, the service across the Corran Narrows provides an essential connection for the peninsular communities of Ardgour, Sunart, Ardnamurchan, Moidart, Morar, Morvern, the Isle of Mull and beyond.
The vessels used on the route are in urgent need of replacement and improvements are also required to the shoreside infrastructure to safeguard the future of the ferry service.
The Outline Business Case Final Report presented to the committee today details the preferred option to have two larger 32-vehicle capacity fully electric vessels and supporting shoreside infrastructure.
The Council’s current capital programme recognises the important role of the Corran Ferry project but does not identify funding within the lifetime of the programme.
It was widely recognised at the time of the approval of the programme that efforts would have to be made to attract external funding to the project wherever possible, and these efforts continue.
£1.6m has been set aside by the Council to progress work on the proposed shore-side infrastructure and the vessel design.
Both projects are well underway and a pre-application public consultation event is taking place in Ardgour today from 2pm to 8pm to highlight proposals.
This will provide an opportunity for face-to-face discussions with key project members and give people the chance to consider and comment upon the prospective application.
Consultation material will be made available after the event on www.affriclimited.co.uk/news/Consultations