Strong demand for new Hebrides ferry service, survey shows

The ferry would run between Mallaig, above, and Lochboisdale in South Uist
The ferry would run between Mallaig, above, and Lochboisdale in South Uist
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DEMAND for a new ferry service in the Hebrides is strong, according to a new survey.

• Almost 90 per cent of repondents favour a link between South Uist and Mallaig

• Survey found ferry usage would increase dramatically, if a link was introduced

• Transport Scotland and Scottish government urged to take immediate steps on the survey’s findings

Almost 90 per cent of the 1,000-plus respondents favour a link between Lochboisdale in South Uist to Mallaig.

An online survey, commissioned by the Hebrides Range Taskforce, was launched earlier this month and found there was comprehensive public support for the proposed service.

It found almost 90 per cent of respondents saying that they were ‘very or quite likely’ to use the service.

The survey also found evidence that ferry usage would increase dramatically if a Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry was introduced.

And respondents also felt that a new service would lead to significant social and economic improvements throughout the Southern Isles.

Stephen MacAulay, chairman of the Missing Link Group Campaign, said: “The report’s findings provide irrefutable evidence of what we have maintained right from the beginning of this campaign - that there is overwhelming public support from throughout the Uists and beyond, for a Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry.

“This survey was conducted within a very tight timescale, with people having only a week to respond. The fact that almost 1,100 people responded highlights the desire of people in the Uists for a new shorter and more frequent ferry service.”

Angus MacMillan, chair of Storas Uibhist also welcomed the survey and urged the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland to take immediate steps to act on the report’s findings.

He said: “Storas Uibhist has long campaigned for the introduction of this service, it is now imperative that the Scottish Government respond positively to this report and that they now take steps to establish a service on the route as soon as possible in 2013.

“The people of the Uists have again demonstrated that there is a unquestionable need for this new service and I’d hope that the Scottish Government will now recognise this and make sure that proposals for a Lochboisdale to Mallaig service is included in their Ferries Review.”