Planning needed now

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Sir,

Arran Ferry Action Group has watched with great interest, the recent debate about opening up Arran and restoring ferry services.

Unlike some others, we have felt we could not add to the discussion given we had no access to the appropriate scientific advice available to those in authority.

Without this, any opinion on our part would have been inappropriate. It will be our elected representatives at the Scottish government to decide if, and when, unrestricted travel is permitted in Scotland.

A ministerial statement states tourism in Scotland will be opening up in early July. Two things are essential at that moment of time and must be planned for now.

Firstly, we must have a full service with two boats on the Ardrossan/ Brodick route. The proposed passenger numbers are patently not going to achieve any significant access and are unacceptable.

The Scottish government urgently needs to find a solution to this dilemma. Perhaps it is time for people to wear face masks and accept their own responsibility for social distancing on board, thereby increasing passenger numbers to an agreed overall capacity.

Without onboard services, the crew could largely shield. Essentially passengers would make their own judgements about travelling under such circumstances. We are, after all, generally sensible travellers and do not really require CalMac to tell us how to keep safe, which is ultimately our own responsibility.

Secondly, a full or even enhanced capacity must be restored to the Lochranza/Claonaig service, where complete isolation is possible by remaining in vehicles, with toilets available at both terminals. The journey time is only 30 minutes. It is beyond belief the current proposal remains to operate once daily from Tarbert.

Both route services should continue into the winter, or for as long as it takes. Without such measures, the island’s threatened economy will slip even further compared to the mainland and our future will be bleak.

Our elected representatives have a responsibility to resolve this problem and must act now.

Yours,
Robert Cumming, John Ford, Gavin Fulton, Sam Bourne, Donald McNicol, Bob Haddow, Sharon Shenhav, Sally Campbell and Chris Attkins, Arran Ferry Action Group.

 

The ‘Banksy’ of the Arran public art world strikes again. This beech bow recently appeared at the bottom of the Lamlash hill. On closer inspection it looks like a rainbow painted onto a bent beech wood plank. Nice to see something where, at this time of year, there would be banners for various events including Lamlash Heather Queen, RNLI and Arran Coastal Rowing Club Regatta. NO_B25rainbow01