Ferry review delayed

A government review of Scotland’s ferry services has been delayed by four months due to an ongoing European Commission probe into subsidies to NorthLink and CalMac.

The top-to-bottom review was supposed to be completed by August but got off to a slow start due to problems recruiting con­sultants. Now the Shetland transport authority ZetTrans has been told the final strategy for the future of ferries will not be ready until spring next year. It will shape inter-island and North Boat services for the next 20 years, including how ships and ferries are paid for and operated.

The state aid investigation of the £31 million in subsidies paid each year to NorthLink and CalMac began a year ago and had been due to be finished next month. Now it may drag on until September. At a meeting of ZetTrans on Monday its transport operations manager Ken Duerden said the EU was asking for huge amounts of information from Scottish Government officials but as yet there was no hint of what the outcome would be.

ZetTrans chairman Allan Wishart said he was disappointed to hear about the delay.


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