Islands Connectivity Plan

Overview

The Islands Connectivity Plan (ICP) replaces the Ferries Plan but is wider in scope, taking account of ferry services, aviation and fixed links, as well as onward and connecting travel. It is being developed within the context of the National Transport Strategy and the National Islands Plan and is being informed by the outcomes of the Strategic Transport Projects Review. Consultation and engagement are central to its development.

The Islands Connectivity Plan comprises an overarching Strategic Approach paper and a number of delivery plans. Work on the ICP is now well underway, with  publication of the draft Strategic Approach and the updated Vessels and Ports Plan for public consultation. Work on further elements of the ICP will follow, with a view to further engagement, consultation and publications in due course.

Strategic Approach

The Strategic Approach paper proposes our overall Strategic Approach to island transport connectivity including ferries, aviation, fixed links and, especially, addressing the strategic challenges facing the Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services and Northern Isles Ferry Services.

Vessels and Ports Plan

The updated Vessels and Ports Plan provides detail on the Scottish Government’s objectives for the Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services and Northern Isles Ferry Services which the Scottish Government is directly responsible for.

This is an updated version of the draft Plan published at the end of 2022 and reflects the feedback provided by stakeholders following the publication of the initial draft of the Plan in December 2022. It provides a long-term plan, to 2045, for the vessel and port investment considered necessary to address the key challenges of reliability and resilience.

Consultation

You can access copies of the documents above and also the consultation.

The responses received to this consultation will inform the Islands Connectivity Plan including the final versions of these two documents.

Impact Assessments

In parallel, an Islands Communities Impact Assessment, a Business Regulatory Impact Assessment, an Equality Impact Assessment, a Strategic Environmental Assessment and a Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment are being carried out to inform the development of the overall Islands Connectivity Plan. This process aims to ensure that the impacts on island communities and businesses, groups with protected characteristics and environment are captured and considered, including reducing inequalities, in the development of policies and plans detailed in the draft Islands Connectivity Plan.

Public Engagement

The Plan is based on feedback from communities and sets an overall strategic direction for future island transport connectivity. Alongside the public consultation now underway, we are holding a series of public events on islands and peninsulas served by ferry services.

Read the next section to learn about our stakeholder engagement.

Stakeholder engagement

We invite communities and anyone with interest to be a part of shaping the future of island and peninsula transport connectivity.

We are undertaking engagement sessions to inform the development of the Islands Connectivity Plan, in particular, the two documents recently published for public consultation: the ICP Strategic Approach and the updated Vessels and Ports Plan.

These sessions build on a number of visits the team have already made in recent months, supporting both the Scottish Government Islands Team and the Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) project team on their engagement visits across a number of islands and peninsulas.

Engagement programme

The public consultation on both documents is live until Friday 3 May and is being supported by a number of public events for Transport Scotland officials to hear from people directly.

The engagement programme is set out below. We are still finalising details and will keep this page updated and use social and local media to keep people informed.

There are two parts to each engagement:

  1. Structured workshop focusing on 3 key themes
  2. Drop-in session where we welcome conversation on any aspects of the Islands Connectivity Plan.

Structured Workshop (1 hour and 30 minutes)

The workshop will feature small group discussions, each led by a facilitator from Transport Scotland. Participants will engage in three rounds of discussions, exploring key themes related to the Islands Connectivity Plan Strategic Approach and Vessels and Ports Plan. The themes are:

  • Community voice and transparency
  • Accessibility of ferries for people with disabilities or other impairments to travel
  • Integration of ferries with onward and connecting travel

These are three of the key themes set out in the draft Strategic Approach paper and we are asking about all 11 of those themes through the public consultation. We would like to focus on these three themes in these workshops because there are gaps in our knowledge and understanding and we want to hear directly from people who use and rely on ferry services.

So we can plan for numbers at each event, and to ensure a focused and interactive discussion, we encourage registration in advance – however you are also welcome to attend without registering. To register, please follow the link provided next to your chosen location.

Date Time Location Booking details
Tuesday 16 April 6pm to 7:30pm Barra - UHI Barra Campus, Castlebay HS9 5XD Book event in Barra
Thursday 18 April 5:30pm to 7pm Coll - An Cridhe Community Centre Book event in Coll
Week beginning 29 April TBC Orkney TBC
Thursday 2 May 2pm to 3:30pm Isle of Eigg - Isle of Eigg Community Hall Book afternoon event in Eigg
Thursday 2 May 6:30pm to 8pm Isle of Eigg - Isle of Eigg Community Hall Book evening event in Eigg

Drop-in Session (30 minutes)

A drop-in session, providing an informal setting for community members to share their feedback and contributions on the Islands Connectivity Plan and the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract will be available for 30 minutes following the Structured Workshop.

Date Time Location Booking details
Tuesday 16 April 7:30pm to 8pm Barra - UHI Barra Campus, Castlebay HS9 5XD No booking required
Thursday 18 April 11:30am to 12:30pm
7pm to 7:30pm
Coll - An Cridhe Community Centre No booking required
Week beginning 29 April TBC Orkney TBC
Thursday 2 May 3:30pm to 4pm Isle of Eigg Community Hall No booking required
Thursday 2 May 8pm to 8:30pm Isle of Eigg Community Hall No booking required