Council Look To Secure Lifeline Status For Transport Route

Council staff are investigating the potential for our mainland transport link to be designated a Public Service Obligation Route.

If it gained this lifeline status, costs of our services could be subsidised.

In order to build evidence for it’s case, the Town Hall’s Economic Development team have looked at small islands in Ireland and France but each of those countries used European funding differently to the UK.

The island most similar to Scilly, and the one best used for comparisons in transport costs and accessibility turned out to be Islay in Scotland.

Islay has more than twice the population of St Mary’s and lies in the Inner Hebrides, 25 miles to the nearest mainland port.

Their new ferry cost £24 million and undertakes the two-hour journey three to four times a day and twice on a Sunday. A return trip is £12 compared to £95 on Scillonian III.

And their 40 minute flight to Glasgow is £70 return compared to £175 return for a flight of similar distance from St Mary’s to Newquay.

Figures from what Dudley Mumford called a ‘first glimpse’ of the report will be expanded before the Full Council considers what to do with the data in a private session on 13th December.

The facts will highlight how other island communities receive support and its hoped will help with business plans for the Quay development and the potential airport project, which could lead to runway resurfacing.

Marian Bennett told Councillors the research could be one of the main instruments in securing fair, long-term transport links to the mainland.