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Cuts to ferry fares for visitors to Kerrera were welcomed all last week but the island’s Development Trust will continue to work towards an overall reduction which will benefit members of the community also.
On a visit last Tuesday, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse announced the significant cuts which are aimed at encouraging more people to visit the island.
Fares for non-residents will be brought into line with those for residents, with the new system coming into effect as soon as possible.
‘This fare cut will make Kerrera more attractive for visitors and tourism companies and will boost the economy of the island,’ he said.
‘It will also make it cheaper for the friends and families of island residents to make the trip.
‘The reduction is being brought in following consultation with the local community.
‘It builds on our previous investment of over £3 million in the service, including the upgrade of berthing facilities, the introduction of a new vessel on the route and our support for the long-term future of the service by bringing it into the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network.
‘I look forward to more people making the trip across the Sound of Kerrera.’
The proposed new fares will see a 50 per cent reduction on an adult single trip, from £3.20 t0 £1.60. An adult return has been slashed by 33 per cent from £4.80 to £3.20. Child singles and returns have been cut 25 per cent (£1.10/80p) and 26 per cent (£2.15/£1.60) respectively. Resident children will continue to travel for free.
Isle of Kerrera Development Trust (IKDT) chairman Martin Shields said that the decision was ‘a step in the right direction’ but more needed to be done to help residents.
“IKDT has been working closely with Transport Scotland and CalMac for many years with the main aim of ensuring the best possible lifeline service for the residents of Kerrera.
‘The fares decision will directly benefit residents who have family and friends visiting as well as the increasing number of people who travel to Kerrera for work.
‘We will continue to lobby for timetable improvements and look forward to hearing the results of the ongoing study into RET, where we hope that we can see overall fares reduce in line with other similar routes.’
Following his visit to Kerrera, Mr Wheelhouse returned to the mainland where he paid a visit to Dunstaffnage-based sustainable energy charity ALIenergy.
Manager Lynda Mitchell, business development officer Carole
Shellcock, and affordable warmth adviser Jenny McLeish gave
presentations showcasing some of ALIenergy’s award-winning projects.
These include the innovative ENBIO (Energy and the Bioeconomy) Project with partner Xanthella Ltd, which is developing the innovative use of intermittent locally-owned renewable energy generation to produce algal products for use as superfoods or in the aquaculture industry.
ALIenergy operates a team of five affordable warmth advisers operating
across the whole of Argyll and Bute, who are available for home visits to assist anyone who is struggling with paying their energy bills.
‘Fuel poverty is a huge problem in rural Scotland,’ said Ms Mitchell.
‘It affects over 40 per cent of households in Argyll and Bute, where we face multiple challenges, including poorly insulated housing, bad weather, low income and elderly households, and lack of mains gas across the majority of the area leading to more expensive heating systems.’
The group then went on to discuss the various challenges of funding and
operating these activities in our rural and island communities.