FRIST Secure Meeting With Transport Minister

The Scillonian III

FRIST, the group campaigning for more affordable and reliable transport links to the islands, has received an invitation to meet with the Minister for Transport, Norman Baker.

Marian Bennett, co-ordinator of FRIST, said their request to meet the Minister was based on the immediate need for a lifeline service when the helicopter service stops in November.

FRIST say they want to express ‘in strong terms’ their concerns about the cessation of the helicopter service to the islands and its impact on the community and economy, particularly in the winter when the only passenger service is by fixed wing aircraft, susceptible to cancellations through weather or a waterlogged runway.

And while they say some changes have been put in place to transport sick and disabled people on small aircraft, the next few months will determine whether these are adequate.

Marian said, “Our principal long term objective is to secure a service for passengers and freight that is reliable, regular, all year round and comparably affordable to that provided in the Scottish Isles.”

In his letter to FRIST, Mr Baker recognised the efforts underway by the Steamship Company to meet demand and ongoing work to secure another helicopter operator for the route.

But he added, “Nevertheless, we want to ensure that transport links to the islands can be safeguarded for the longer term and I would be happy to meet with you to hear your concerns.”

Mr Baker expressed his view that it would be helpful for the Council of the Isles of Scilly to be formally represented in the FRIST delegation.

You can sign up in support of FRIST at


5 Responses to FRIST Secure Meeting With Transport Minister

  1. paul October 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I was hoping to visit in january however with the helicopter gone and no flights from southhampton in 2013 its looking very unlikely, i hope something comes about this meeting, not only for visitors but those who live on the islands, its a beautiful place to visit

  2. Bridie Jane Ridsdale October 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Great work everyone! I’m sure you have the support of locals and tourists alike… Thanks for your hard work and diligence… good luck!

  3. Mike Peaker October 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Richard speaks for many – including me – when he talks about the difficullities of travelling to the islands compared with the ease of going elsewhere. So the news of the meeting with the Minister is very encouraging and a strong indication that FRIST has been recognised by the Minister as a community group whose views he should listen to. Of course we shouldn’t expect instant results, but FRIST is now very much in the Minister’s consciousness as a significant player in the issue. Well done, and good luck to FRIST next month. And if you haven’t signed up as a FRIST supporter now is the time to do so. The more support they can demonstrate the stronger their hand.

  4. Richard October 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Great – some real progress. Scilly’s transport links are facing serious obstacles, but it looks as though some islanders have been working behind the scenes to secure a better future for those travelling to and from the islands. My wife and I love to visit Scilly, but the prospect of travelling on the plane is not an appealing one for us (and our connections never work with the ship’s sailing times – meaning the added cost of a night in Penzance). Sadly we can now get to Europe much easier, quicker and cheaper than we can get to Scilly. Although we love the islands, it is becoming less and less viable for us to visit. I hope that FRIST are successful and that we can continue to afford to visit these wonderful islands and that our children will continue to do so in the future.

  5. IanT October 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I am surprised that the Council have not seen fit to appoint a formal member to this group or, at least, make Marian their formal representative.