UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Thursday 18 July 2024
 11.6°C   S Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Election / Lib Dems want answers on transport

Photo: Shetland News

THE LIBERAL Democrat candidate for the Shetland by-election, Beatrice Wishart, is seeking clarification from the Scottish Government over the timetable for awarding the new eight year Northern Isles lifeline ferry service contract after Pentland Ferries’ legal challenge was rejected by the Court of Session.

Wishart, who has been running isles MP Alistair Carmichael’s office for many years and is also the vice-convener of Shetland Islands Council, has now written to islands minister Paul Wheelhouse on what is likely to become a main topic of the forthcoming election campaign.

In her letter she also said there were no reasons to further delay the introduction of cheaper ferry fares.

“Islanders are fed up of paying over the odds for lifeline travel to the mainland,” Wishart said.

“Ministers in Edinburgh are still unable to shed any light on when passengers on the Northern Isles routes can expect to benefit from RET. A year on from the promised date for implementing RET, those using these lifeline services are still being forced to pay far too much.

“It’s good news that the appeal has been thrown out. There is now no excuse for delays in getting a new contract in place. So far islanders and businesses calling for reduced costs, greater capacity and flexibility have not had their concerns taken on board.”

Responding to the challenge SNP candidate Tom Wills said the SNP government had invested £20 million in improving internal services.

“While there’s still more to do, the Scottish Government has been working hard to improve transport for Shetland – cutting north boat fares by 20 per cent and investing £20 million to improve internal services last two years alone,” he said.

“The Lib Dems have been playing politics with important local issues like this for far too long. Shetland needs an MSP who is willing to sit down with the Scottish Government and work constructively to make ferry services more affordable and increase capacity.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“The SNP is working with the SIC and industry to improve our ferry services: Lib Dem heckling from the sidelines is neither positive nor constructive.”

A number of senior government ministers are expected to visit the isles over the coming weeks in support of the SNP candidate Tom Wills, and are likely to be challenged on a number of transport related issues.

So far eight candidates have put forward their names for the by-election, which takes place on 29 August. They are in alphabetical order: Johan Adamson (Labour), Brydon Goodlad (Conservative), Stuart Martin (UKIP), Debra Nicolson (Greens), Ian Scott (Fight Austerity, Save Our NHS, Save Our Welfare State), Ryan Thomson (independent), Tom Wills (SNP), Beatrice Wishart (Liberal Democrats).

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.