Arran Banner letters – week 16, 2022

Joseph and Rebecca with the chocolate they found at their gran's bench.

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Fuel supplier responds


I thought your fuel article last week was very fair and you obviously understand that a small community filling station will never be the cheapest.

I can assure you I always endeavour to keep my costs as competitive as possible for the benefit of the community.

I was surprised at Steve Taylor’s comment from Certas and can only assume he has not checked the price that we are being charged for fuel before speaking to Kenneth Gibson.

Last week, and indeed this, I am being charged over £2 a litre and, as you reported, one of my competitors is charging less than this at the pump.

As a long-standing customer of Certas we have always been one of the cheapest for fuel on the island or, if not, always competitive.

At present we are by far and away the most expensive and at best we are either being avoided by our customers, or at worst being accused of profiteering.

As yet I have been unable to get anyone at Certas to explain their pricing structure at this time.

Unfortunately being contracted to Certas I am unable to buy elsewhere and have to accept the price given.

It was obvious that Timothy Billings had done his homework and spoken to the people involved.

On the other hand the comments from our local MSP appeared to have no factual grounding and at no time have I been contacted to clarify my position.

I can confirm that I have passed on the Rural Fuel Rebate since its inception and find it disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

The last paragraphs of the article do nothing to support a business that is trying its best during difficult times for the community which Mr Gibson represents.


Colin Cameron,

Blackwaterfoot Garage.


Fuel furore


With great interest I read the article about fuel prices on Arran (Arran Banner April 15).

Certas stated in their letter to MSP Kenneth Gibson that the final retail price is entirely decided by the local site owner.

Well, yes and no. Of course it is up to the local garage owners to decide how much to charge per litre but this of course is in the end entirely dependent on the price per litre they have to pay Certas.

So perhaps before we vent our anger on our local businesses it may be worth our MSP investigating how much Certas charges for fuel delivered to Arran compared to other

Are our higher prices at the pump due to our increasingly unreliable ferry service? And in that case perhaps our MSP should put more pressure on to ensure a better ferry service asap. And many thanks to our councillor Timothy Billings for taking the time to look into the matter.


Friederike Lorenzen,



Legitimate issues


As ferry chaos continues it is revealing that Kevin Hobbs, CEO of CMAL, refuses to address legitimate issues raised by the Mull and Iona Ferry Committee which recommends cheaper, smaller vessels – which would not require port upgrades – and  provide more fleet resilience.

Rather than respond with a counter argument to support the large single hull concept, his response is, ‘the committee is being vexatious and distasteful and we are concerned about the continuing narrative from that particular committee’.

He finds it easier to denigrate a legitimate informed committee voicing concern rather than offer evidence to support CMAL’s position.

To highlight CMAL’s capability on all things maritime, he offers the ultimate insight to efficiency and expertise: ‘We have 45 people in Port Glasgow who are qualified in naval architecture, marine, civil engineering and all manner of other marine associated  businesses.’

The reality: a continuing ‘catastrophic failure’, highlighted by the Mountain committee and Audit Scotland, no agreed delivery date for 801 and a derelict fleet!

For years, all the Edinburgh-based ‘experts’ have contemptuously ignored local expertise  – would it bring matters to a head if all affected west coast communities refused to pay council tax from April 2022?


John Lamont,


Chocolate surprise


With all the bad news in the media, tragedy around the world and the difficulties with living costs being felt by many, I felt compelled to write to place on record a huge thank you to the kind individual in Whiting Bay who organised the random acts of kindness over Easter weekend.

It was the last day of our latest holiday on Arran and my two children, Rebecca and Joseph, had decided to place some flowers on their gran’s memorial bench before we left for the ferry.

They were so excited to discover some eggs containing sweeties, with a delightful message enclosed, in the boat next to the bench. They are convinced Gran Jean arranged it from heaven.

The sweets were enjoyed, the eggs were replenished and replaced and hopefully the next kids to find them got as much out of it as mine did.

Simple acts like this have such an amazing impact and create fantastic memories.

Thank you, whoever you are!

John Fergusson,