Support fixed links, MSP Wishart tells Scottish minister

MSP Beatrice Wishart has urged the Scottish government to back fixed links for Shetland.

Speaking at Holyrood on Thursday, Ms Wishart asked transport minister Michael Matheson to pursue feasibility studies for the isles.

The Scottish government this week published its second strategic transport review, which received numerous positive responses in favour of fixed links in Shetland.

Despite that, the SNP government made no plea to look into how that could be accomplished.

Liberal Democrat MSP Ms Wishart said Shetland’s internal ferries were ‘”rapidly ageing” and needed replaced imminently.

Mr Matheson responded to say they had spent £130 million on local ferry services in the last five years.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Wishart said committing to fixed links could save the Scottish government money in the long term.

“But we won’t be certain unless and until the Scottish government engages with the possibility of feasibility studies,” she said.

“There were positive responses for fixed links for Shetland in the consultation responses and the Scottish Government should not ignore those voices.”

A number of meetings exploring the possibility of fixed links were jointly held by Ms Wishart and MP Alistair Carmichael last year.

And the MSP added that the outlook from many at those meetings was “get on with it”.

She said that was a view she would “continue to hammer home to the Scottish government”.


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