Assurances over Uist fuel supply amid depot closure

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Assurances have been sought over whether fuel supplies to the Uists will continue as Lochcarnan Depot undergoes essential maintenance during February and March.

Corrosion to inlet pipework at Lochcarnan has led operators to suspend ship-bound deliveries pending the installation of new pipework and repairs to the depot, which is operated by Certas Energy under lease from the Ministry of Defence, are due to be completed by the end of March.

In the meantime, fuel will be delivered to Lochcarnan by road tanker from Certas Energy’s Inverness Depot.  Certas says it is confident that supplies can be maintained but has agreed to engage with the Uist community so that any unforeseen ‘pinch points’ in delivery can be quickly addressed.

On Tuesday this week, the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s chairman of transportation, councillor Uisdean Robertson, met with the Certas Energy’s director of corporate affairs, Dr Brian Worrall, to discuss the matter.

At the meeting, Mr Worrall reaffirmed the long-term future of Lochcarnan as a key Certas depot and a programme of significant investment over the period 2018 to 2021 was outlined.  This investment will include works to the inlet pipework, jetty and storage tank bunds.

Councillor Robertson said: ‘We are grateful to Certas Energy for clarifying the current situation at Lochcarnan, confirming their short-term investment plans and reaffirming their longer term commitment to Lochcarnan as a key network depot.

‘We were assured that the depot should be fully operational by the end of March, in time to meet growing fuel demand from the fishing industry and other sectors.  Until then, we will work with Certas to make sure that any pinch points in local supply are immediately addressed.’