Minister Meets Transport Campaigners But Without Scilly’s Council

scillonian 2012The Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport pressure group has met with the Minister of Transport as part of their campaign for a year-round subsidised boat.

FRIST members Marian Bennett and Nick Jenkins met with Baroness Kramer, Cornwall Council representatives and MP Andrew George on Thursday.

FRIST outlined problems with transport provision to the mainland. They highlighted affordability and accessibility for both locals and visitors.

FRIST described the decline in visitor numbers, which they believe relates to fare levels and they used responses from the recent travel survey as evidence.

A summary of price rises over the past two years was also circulated.

FRIST told the Minister that the Steamship Company has said that they could buy a second-hand vessel instead of a new ship. But FRIST explained that has not happened.

They suggested that the Scillonian III has only five year’s life left. FRIST alleged that the company could not afford a new boat and told the Minister that their shipping expert doesn’t believe there’s a suitable used vessel on the market.

Marian Bennett says that the Minister did not rule out revenue support.

Baroness Kramer felt that funds should be sought locally first, possibly through the Local Enterprise Partnership. It should be a local decision, supported by both Cornwall and Scilly Councils, she said.

Scilly’s Council did not attend this meeting. FRIST member Lord Tony Berkeley said the Council’s Transport Chairman did not reply to the two emails FRIST sent to invite him along.

The Minister heard that Cornwall Council, who did attend the meeting, is willing to make the plans they drew up for a ship, as part of the failed Route Partnership scheme, available for a new scheme if required.

Marian now hopes that future round-table discussions will include everyone with an interest in Scilly’s transport. And that, she says, would include the Steamship Group, the Council, Cornwall Council, the Duchy, Local Enterprise Partnership and FRIST.

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