8.1. The research developed and assessed five options for long-term provision of ferry services to Kerrera. In particular, our consultations identified the transport needs of the community which were then expressed in terms of STAG transport planning objectives. They also identified the parameters for long-term provision: notably that Transport Scotland would financially support only a single ferry service, plus the continuing prohibition of visitors' vehicles on Kerrera.
8.2. We conclude that the following options should be rejected:
- Do Minimum.
- B: Existing vehicle ferry route, no road investment.
- D: Direct vehicle ferry service to Oban, no road investment.
8.3. This is very largely because none would provide a north-south link road on Kerrera. As a consequence (as shown at Chapter 7) the three options performed relatively poorly in terms of meeting transport planning objectives, the STAG criteria and public acceptability.
8.4. The analysis at Chapter 7 showed the strengths and weaknesses of each of the remaining two Options:
- A: Existing vehicle ferry route with road investment.
- C: Direct vehicle ferry service to Oban with road investment.
8.5. Taking affordability and the level of benefits into account, forestry grade would be the most appropriate specification for a north-south road. The case for also upgrading the island's south road is less strong. This reflects that it would not be used by all island residents, while it is already used by vehicle traffic. Its cost would be significant while the level of benefits would be less than for a north-south link.
8.6. Compared to Option A, Option C potentially offers greater benefits through direct ferry access to Oban for both residents and visitors. However, it includes a number of challenges. The main ones are getting long-term assured access to a slipway on the marina site and securing appropriate parking for residents' vehicles in Oban. In addition, the engineering assessment shows that the cost of marine infrastructure would be higher than under Option A. Also, Option C would have slight negative impacts in terms of Environment and TEE, while vessel operating costs would be greater than under Option A.
8.7. From the option appraisal we conclude that Option A amended to exclude a south road upgrade appears the most affordable and achievable overall solution. It would offer significant benefits and very largely meet the current transport needs of the community.
8.8. However, the clients should take into account the potential longer term benefits of a direct service into Oban-as well as deliverability and cost issues-in coming to a decision.