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Plans to secure the future operation and management of the Corran ferry services are under way.
An outline business case update prepared by Highland Council’s Corran ferry project team was presented to the Lochaber Area Committee on Monday, August 9.
The project was established earlier this year to review the options for securing replacement ferry vessels and for considering the preferred way forward.
Chairman of Lochaber Area Committee, Councillor Andrew Baxter said: ‘This is a significant milestone and demonstrates a positive commitment to residents, businesses and visitors.
‘Despite the challenges faced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the project has made good progress and the project team, council officers and partners should be commended for their contribution in propelling the project in a positive direction.’
In June the council approved the funding of £1.6million to enable the project to commence work on the feasibility and preliminary design of two new vessels (in conjunction with Transport Scotland /CMAL’s SVRP); and two new slipways.
CMAL has recently appointed a naval architect and the SVRP (small vessel replacement programme) is currently on course to move to procurement of the first tranche of vessels in the next 12 months, subject to the completion and approval of an outline business case.
The local authority’s project design unit is currently progressing a public service contract through the Scotland Excel framework to procure an external source to commence feasibility and preliminary design work for the Corran ferry slipways/infrastructure.
Lochaber Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of HITRANS said: ‘The report presented to the committee outlines the duty of care; Highland Council has to run a safe, reliable and sustainable ferry.
‘The Corran ferry is the busiest single vessel route in Scotland, providing a lifeline service to the remote communities of Ardnamurchan, Morvern and Mull. The current service, operated with an ageing vessel and limited crew numbers, is no longer sustainable.
‘Today’s report highlights a cohesive and collaborative approach being taken forward that should ensure new ferries and infrastructure can be delivered in a cost effective, innovative and environmentally-focused way.’
A link to the committee report which includes appendixes is available on the Highland Council website.