The Islands Connectivity Plan will replace the Ferries Plan but be broader in scope, taking account of aviation, ferries and fixed links, and onward and connecting travel. It will be developed within the context of the National Transport Strategy and the National Islands Plan and be informed by the outcomes of the Strategic Transport Projects Review. Consultation and engagement will be central to its development.
Work on ICP is underway, with priority being given to a draft Long-Term Plan for Vessels and Ports. Work on the other elements of the ICP will follow, with a view to further engagement, consultation and publications in 2023.
Long-Term Plan for Vessels and Ports
The Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan (February 2021) included a commitment to:
… produce and maintain a long-term plan and investment programme for new ferries and development at ports to improve resilience, reliability, capacity, and accessibility, increase standardisation, and reduce emissions to meet the needs of island communities and give confidence on our ongoing commitment supported by investment of at least £580 million during the next five years”
The draft Long-Term Vessels and Ports Plan is the first element of the ICP, providing detail on the Scottish Government’s objectives for the Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) and Northern Isles Ferry Services (NIFS) which the Scottish Government is directly responsible for.
The draft plan above has also been circulated as an advance copy to key stakeholders for initial feedback.
A final draft of the Long-Term Plan will be published for public consultation in early 2023.