More Questions On Scilly’s Transport To Be Asked In Lords

More questions about providing year-round lifeline transport services to Scilly will be asked in the House of Lords next month.

On the 24th of October, Lord Berkeley, a member of FRIST, the Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport’s advisory board, will ask the government what provision there is for winter lifeline services for this year and future years.

He’ll also ask about the number of days that Skybus faced weather disruption. Those figures will be sought using a freedom of information request

Frist steering group member, Marian Bennett, says she appreciates all that the Steamship Company does, but planes are more susceptible to adverse weather conditions than helicopters and the government needs to be aware of how disadvantaged we could be this winter.

The group’s main goal is to get fares reduced so locals pay the same amount as Scottish islanders.

FRIST also want the back-up of a subsidised year-round boat and they want to push for the government to lease a helicopter or boat this winter.

Marian has just returned from Scotland where she attended a small-islands conference on Mull and was given advice on who to talk with within the European Union. She also met with representatives from Transport Scotland in Glasgow.

Marian says the advice and guidance she has been offered by Transport Scotland was invaluable and FRIST now has some good contacts to follow with both Brussels and the  British Government.

Commentators on the Scottish route subsidies claim that their government favours their remote areas, but Marian says it’s something that’s happened there for years, well before their devolved executive, and that gives her hope Scilly could be treated in the same way.

And she says many people were surprised that Scilly doesn’t already have a subsidised link.


6 Responses to More Questions On Scilly’s Transport To Be Asked In Lords

  1. Pat Hicks October 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Thank you for all the work your putting into this marion. its nice to see someone doing something positive, and i am sure we all appreciiate it. .

  2. Mike Peaker September 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I’m sure Jeff Eastick will appreciate that once the helicopter service has finished it doesn’t really matter how many times it had technical problems.

    It is the future, and the very tenuous air link facing both islanders and visitors this winter that needs to be brought to the attention of government in every way possible. Historical information from Skybus should give a good indication of the likely problems, and help to demonstrate to government the need to take urgent action to provide a reliable lifeline service to the islands this winter. FRIST is doing a great job in applying pressure to the government in ways that the Council can not. But to maximise its impact it needs to be able to demonstrate the widest possible support from both islanders and visitors like me. You can show your support by registering on the FRIST website – it only takes a couple of minutes!

    • Adam Morton,St.Martins September 30, 2012 at 1:47 am

      Asking for subsidy isnt enough on its own.There are plenty of reports available online which suggest a levle of perhaps 40% funding may be achievable which still wouln’t put us competetive with other routs and still wouldnt improve standards of service,the cost structure has to be lowered before we start,.So far as I am aware ,(according to reports )no one has even seriously discussed the issue with the IOSSco yet.The figures necessary to make a meaningfull difference are vast probably in excess of £10.000000 a year which doesent constitute good value when its benifitting only 2000 people.If FRIST is achieving anything they are playing their cards very close to their chest, my worry is that they are covering old ground and information freely available online or with a simple telephone call.The scottish islands have a very complex system developed from needs,viability and carefull research see transport scotland report and scottish islands federation ferry review.At the end of it who is going to deliver this subsidy? the council who cant keep the airport solvent?or the steamship who will go through all this extra tendering paperwork just to be paid the same as they were before a subsidy?

  3. JeffEastick September 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    If Lord Berkeley is intending to request details of days Skybus was affected by weather , he should also ask how many times the helicopter was non-operational due to technical problems so that balanced view can be taken.

  4. Adam Morton,St.Martins September 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I believe the EU will only fund when a lifeline rout is failing which ours is clearly not,prohibitvly expensive yes but failing no.In truth little has changed it will cost very little more to get off the islands this winter and the boat will run in the summer as usual.Despite all the talk Skybus is delayed very little more than BIH the latter making up by being “technical”on many occasions.
    This has been an issue for the last ten -twenty years its just the reccession has made it more noticable.It does not affect anyone who doesent work here in the private sector to any great extent ,its purly a business problem for those reliant upon attracting visitors.

  5. Mr F Gregory September 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I read with much interest on Lord Berkeleys forthcoming speech in the House of Lords in October.
    As a past visitor for some thirty five years to the Isles of Scilly one is no longer able to pay the high cost of the helicopter flight.
    This link is vital to the islands throughout the year for the flower industry, visitors and other freight. A subsidy must be found for the islands will surely die.
    The Scillonian and Skybus services do a good job but have their limitations during bad weather conditions.
    I hope and pray our present Government will listen and be lenient with a subsidy for the Paradise Islands.
    Yours Sincerely
    Mr F Gregory