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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12836: Jamie Halcro Johnston (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 21 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what analysis it has done of the impact of internal ferry services on delivery charges to (a) residential and (b) business premises in (i) Orkney, (ii) Shetland and (iii) Na h-Eileanan Siar.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 6 December 2017

Through the “Our Islands Our Future” work and following publication of the Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities prospectus in June 2014, Transport Scotland set up the Orkney & Shetland Internal Ferries Working Group in 2014. The Working Group consists of representatives from Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council, HITRANS, ZETRANS and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

Much work has been undertaken by the Working Group, including consideration of the various needs of the islands and communities served by inter-island ferry services, and the role ferry services play in delivering these needs.

The Working Group also commissioned independent transportation consultants to undertake ‘Inter-Island Transport Studies’ for both Orkney and Shetland. The purpose of the studies were to undertake a proportionate Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) based appraisal of revenue and capital options across the internal air and ferry network in both Orkney & Shetland.

Both studies were completed and published in late 2016. The reports and additional information on internal ferry services are available on the Councils’ websites.

The internal ferries in the Western Isles are operated by CalMac under the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract. Transport Scotland has recently commissioned a STAG study looking at ferry services to and within the Western Isles.

Delivery charges for freight are a commercial matter between businesses and their contracts with hauliers, and as such no specific analysis has been carried out in the ferries context. While the Scottish Government has worked on a voluntary code to help tackle excessive charging, the regulation of prices for parcels is reserved to Westminster.