Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant welcomed the petition submitted by Councillor Grant Fulton against the closure of the Uig, Tarbert, North Uist ferry route this winter to allow for upgrades to the infrastructure in Skye.
The petition, which garnered 43,000 signatures from concerned ferry users and community members is the latest attempt by the communities of the Hebrides to get the Scottish Government to take notice of their fears and concerns for the catastrophic economic impacts the closure will have.
Mrs Grant said:
“The overwhelming response to Councillor Fulton’s petition clearly demonstrates the level of concern in the community to the plans for upgrading Uig pier.
“While everyone understands that the maintenance works to Uig Pier need to be done urgently for safety and sustainability reasons, what is not acceptable is the lack of planning, contingency and support from Scottish Government on this matter.
“This is a lifeline service, one which the SNP is currently responsible for and rather than taking ownership of it, they have neglected the infrastructure, refused to put in place long term strategies for the variety of involved organisations to work within, and are trying to pass the buck to local councils and operators who are simply trying to operate within the limited parameters given to them.
“It’s not new knowledge that the pier at Uig is at the end of its shelf life, we’ve known this was coming for years, so why does it seem to have come as such a surprise to Scottish Government who have established no plans to support their island communities and seem baffled at every revelation of a project that they should be on top of?
“I fully support the petition which has shown such a strong strength of feeling in the islands.
“I just hope that Scottish Government take notice and provide meaningful support during this time.”