as presented to members of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee (02 Dec)
The purpose of the study is to provide a comprehensive statement of the socio-economic role of the Corran Ferry in meeting the needs of Residents, Businesses and Visitors / Tourists who use the ferry. It will also form part of the outline business case, that will support and justify both the internal and external case for capital and revenue investment in the service in the short/medium-term, whilst continuing to make the case for a fixed link in the long-term.
It should be noted that following on from additional feedback from the Corran Ferry Steering Group (as presented previously through LA Committee – 09 Aug 2021) Stantec have amended the Full report to capture local views regarding additional data-based changes in journey time not telling the full story.
The Community Council is represented on the Corran Ferry Steering Group. We have emphasised the importance of the ferry to our local community as a lifeline service and the concern to keep the current ferry service at the best operational level possible, moderate fares for local residents and to gather information on plans to replace/renew the service.
The current ferries, the MV Corran and the reserve vessel Maid of Glencoul are at the end of their service life and capacity for the very busy operations and need replacement. Option for replacement include:
A two ferry replacement to provide 2 x 23-vehicle ferries to meet the future requirements providing a 46-vehicle capacity over the current MV Corran 28-vehicle capacity. (Current operations are 120% of planned capacity achieved by shuttling). This would form a part of a project with Transport for Scotland and CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets) Small vessel replacement bid (9 vessel replacements). (Currently preferred )
Replace the ferry with a bridge
An unlikely option given the recognition of the ferry as a lifeline service is removal of the service and to rely on the around loch road
The ferry replacement will likely take 4-5 years before the first of the 9 ferries are available. There are three important points arising from this:
The current ferry service must be maintained in the meantime. (We have been told that there has been budget allocated for the current maintenance requirements and a plan exists to maintain the current service whilst replacements are built).
We want to be early in the queue of the 9 ferries being built, otherwise it could be 7 years or more before a replacement ferry service is in place. We need to ensure both councillors and government are fully aware of the importance of the crossing. (Currently our Local MSP is also the finance secretary!)
A Socio Economic Study of the Corran Narrows is being commissioned and should include as wide a local input as possible. If you get the opportunity to contribute, please do. This study may shape decisions about the ferry service
It is important therefore to ensure the community voice is heard. You can of course make representations to Highland Councillors or your MSP to make your views on the Ferry known. You can also submit your views to the Sunart Community Council and we will make these known during the ferry steering group meetings. You can contact the SCC using our contact form at: https://sunartcommunitycouncil.co.uk/sunart-community-council-contact