GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Monday 24 June 2024
 13.9°C   S Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Transport / Replacement freight boats still planned amid government budget cuts

The freighter Hildasay is one of two cargo vessels due to be replaced this decade. Photo: Austin Taylor

THERE is no change to plans for two replacement Northern Isles freight vessels despite the Scottish Government cutting back its spending.

The Scottish Government said in November it had identified savings worth £1.2 billion, including capital reductions, to meet increased costs of public sector pay and to provide support to those who need it most.

The government agency Transport Scotland has previously confirmed it intends to replace the two existing Northern Isles freight vessels, the Helliar and Hildasay, although it is still unclear when they may actually constructed and in service.

These may be ‘freighter plus’ models which include increased passenger cabin space.

It comes amid continued frustration from local industries over the freight capacity on the Northern Isles service.

When asked by Shetland News if the government’s spending would affect the freight boat plans, a spokesperson for Transport Scotland said nothing has changed. 

They added: “Ministers are very clear about the importance of supporting ferry services for the economic wellbeing of key rural industries and our island communities, including the Northern Isles.

“We are currently exploring future capacity and connectivity to and from the Northern Isles while CMAL and NorthLink continue to look for suitable second hand tonnage that could be added to the Northern Isles fleet.

“The Islands Connectivity Plan (ICP), will replace the current Ferries Plan – and consultation and engagement will be central to its development.

“Through this, we will set out a long-term investment programme for vessels and ports which the Project Neptune report called for and islanders need to see. We will consult on the long term plan for ferry and port investment on our networks by the end of this year.”

The spokesperson said Transport Scotland also continues to recognise the importance of internal ferry services in the Northern Isles.

For this financial year more than £17 million has been made available to Shetland Islands Council for inter-island ferry running costs.

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.

 

Newsletters

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.