Local News for Thursday 6th September 2018

FOURTH ROUND OF FERRY ACCESSIBILITY FUNDING OPEN
Accessibility on Scotland’s ferry networks may be further improved by a fourth round of Scottish Government funding, following an announcement from Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson.
With around £170,000 remaining in the pot, port and ferry operators can, once again, apply for support from the Ferries Accessibility Fund to make improvements to existing vessels and harbours that go beyond regulatory standards set for accessibility. Community groups have the opportunity to apply, either directly or in conjunction with ferry or port operators, with the agreement of the asset owner.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 6th September 2018

Local News for Wednesday 5th September 2018

STORNOWAY TRUST & PST LAUNCH JOINT PROJECTS FUND
Community landowner The Stornoway Trust and community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) have come together to form an Interim Joint Committee to make grant awards to projects using money generated by Beinn Ghrideag Wind Farm.

The new Projects Fund has been opened with a transfer of £82,000 to Stornoway Trust from PST and this will be supplemented in the future by annual payments of around £40,000 from the profits of the wind farm which began generating in 2015.

PST General Manager Donald John MacSween said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Stornoway Trust in setting up this new Joint Projects Fund which can benefit the whole of the Stornoway Trust area.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 5th September 2018

Local News for Monday 3rd September 2018

ACAIR LAUNCH BOOK ON MITCHELLS BUSES & GARAGE
A new book on the history of a landmark Lewis business is being launched by Acair Books in Stornoway tonight, September 3rd – and everyone is welcome to attend.
Mitchell’s – The Story of a Stornoway Family's Garage and Bus Business – has been written by Colin Tucker, who was engaged to write the book shortly before the sudden death of Ian Mitchell in December 2016.
Ian Mitchell was the son of the founder of the business, John Mitchell, and Ian made it his life’s work to carry on that legacy, which saw Mitchell’s run bus services all over the island and build a garage and motor business.
Chris Mitchell, John’s Grandson, and Ian’s Son, who is travelling from his home in England to be at the book launch, worked with writer Colin Tucker to see his father’s dream of a book on the family business become a reality. Chris said: said he was “delighted with the writing, delighted with the photos, delighted with the way Acair enthusiastically got behind it”

Read more: Local News for Monday 3rd September 2018

Local News for Friday 31st August 2018

COMHAIRLE WELCOMES FERRY RESILIANCE PLAN
The Comhairle has tentatively welcomed the recent announcement by Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, that £3.5m is to be invested by Scottish Government to reduce the risk of vessels breaking down and to return them to service quicker if they do.

Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said, “Our discussions with the previous Transport Minister confirmed that Transport Scotland were working with both Caledonian Maritime Assets and CalMac Ferries to identify ways and means to improve the resilience and reliability of what is obviously an ageing fleet. We are pleased to see that some progress is being made”.

“The announcement of a contribution of £3.5m is welcomed. We await details of how this funding is to be spent but we are aware that, not only is an increasing number of vessels in the fleet becoming more expensive and time-consuming to maintain to the necessary standards because of their age, but the availability of parts and, in some cases, the need to manufacture or fabricate them from “scratch”, is proving to be a growing challenge for the operator”.

Read more: Local News for Friday 31st August 2018

Local News for Thursday 30th August 2018

£3.5m FUND TO KEEP FERRIES SHIPSHAPE
Scotland’s lifeline ferry services are to receive £3.5 million from the Scottish Government to reduce the risk of vessels breaking down and to return them to service quicker if they do.
The move was announced by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson at a public meeting on the island of Arran.
The aim is to tackle obsolescence on the vessels, which would take the ferry out of service for an extended period of time. The fund will be used to start a programme of obsolescence upgrades during the overhaul period this winter and to procure replacement parts for obsolete equipment. These parts will be installed at the next appropriate maintenance opportunity.
Mr Matheson said: “We are very much aware that, as our ferries age, additional resources will be needed to keep the vessels running so our island communities stay connected.
“The funds will be used to upgrade or replace key systems and equipment on the vessels. This will be tackled on a priority basis to avoid potential vessel breakdowns and delays to the ferry service and customers.
“During the forthcoming overhaul period this winter, CMAL and CalMac will initiate the obsolescence programme of upgrades and spare part procurement. This will provide future resilience providing, in the longer term, increased vessel reliability and availability.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 30th August 2018