Friday 4 April 2014
Council will not ask for Route Subsidy says Vice Chair of Transport
Cllr. Steve Sims, Vice Chair of the IOS Transport Committee, responded in a radio interview on Radio Scilly yesterday morning to FRIST's letter to Councillors encouraging them to explore a PSO (route subsidy) as a solution to islanders' dire transport problems.
Cllr. Steve Sims told Radio Scilly in a revealing interview that the Council that did not beleive that a subsidy was achievable or necessary. He said the Council had been “nowhere near proactive enough ” in getting its message across across to the public and that the Council was planning to hold a public meeting on transport on 16 April 2014 to 'thrash matters out'.
You can hear the broadcast here
Scilly Today article with 28 comments here
FRIST letter to Councillors 20 March 2014 here
The letter to Councillors followed the House of Commons Transport Committee hearing on 3 March 2014 at which the IOSC Chief Executive defined IOS transport problem as one of inadequate 'resilience' that would be addressed by implementation of planned harbour and airport improvements.
The Committee heard about extreme difficulties suffered by residents in the winter (especially regarding medical travel), the crippling impact of high travel costs on the islands' tourism based economy and doubt over the IOSSCO's ability to replace the existing 37 yr old ferry vessel without public help (vessel originally part funded in 1977 with a Govt interest free loan).
Baroness Kramer, Transport Minister, is looking for the Isles of Scilly to present a united front about its transport needs.
The IOS Council's earlier plan (in partnership with Cornwall Council and the Duchy of Cornwall) to fund harbour improvements and a new publicly owned ferry/freight vessel franchised to a private sector operator to run (won by the IOSSCO) was turned down for Government funding in 2011. The stimulus for this project (termed the Route Partnership) was the IOS Council commissioned Fisher Report (2002/3) which concluded that the marginal economics of the ferry route would prevent the Scillonian III being replaced on a purely commercial basis when the vessel reached the end of its economic life.