FRIST Want Better Dialogue With Council And Steamship Company

The Scillonian III

The FRIST action group, who are campaigning for cheaper, more reliable transport links to the Isles of Scilly, say they want better communication with the Council and the Steamship Company.

FRIST member, Marian Bennett, said both organisations were invited to the recent Advisory Group meeting, held at the Star Castle on November 23rd, but they declined to attend.

Marian says it’s disappointing as FRIST could be a great help to both the Council and the Steamship Company, especially in providing feedback from the community.

And she feels the data that the Council could collect on the reliability of the services would help with their case. The Department for Transport have asked to see actual evidence of transport problems.

“We’re all on the same side,” she said, adding FRIST has gained enormous support for their campaign.

Chair of the Council’s Transport Committee, Cllr Dudley Mumford, said he couldn’t attend the FRIST meeting as he already had Council commitments on the mainland, but said he was keen to maintain an open dialogue with them.

Dudley added that he’s invited members of their advisory group to an informal meeting of the Transport committee in January.

At their meeting, FRIST resolved to continue lobbying the Government, following the Minister for Transport’s rejection of a subsidy for the transport links similar to those enjoyed by Scottish islands.

But they also admitted that a ‘viable proposal’ from a new helicopter operator was unlikely and resolved to give, “unequivocal support to the fixed wing service.”

Marian said Skybus have been doing a brave job in the face of dreadful weather conditions.

“They’re doing their best and we appreciate that,” she said

FRIST also say that early concerns that extensive media coverage of Scilly’s transport problems would undermine visitor confidence appear unfounded.

Marian told us that enquiries at the TIC in October and November are up 27% on last year, and feels the campaign may actually be generating some positive publicity. She said some visitors might even empathise with our situation.

Marian said FRIST will continue to bombard the Department for Transport with representations to make sure the government recognises the injustice that Scilly suffers.

They’re also preparing a list of questions that they’ll put to the Council and Steamship Company about the transport situation.


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