Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister and Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director to urgently look at increasing the percentage of passengers who can travel on CalMac Ferries.

It is expected that all physical distancing requirements will be removed on 9th August and Mr MacNeil is again calling on the Scottish Government to increase capacity prior to this date to help ease the pressure on island ferries.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said:

“Due to Covid restrictions, ferry capacity is a major problem on all islands and we urgently need an increase on the amount of people that can travel.  The problem is exacerbated on the Lewis service at the moment due to the fact that the MV Arrow has broken down and also with HIAL strike action coming this week due to the removal of important island jobs to Inverness.

“The demand on travel is so high compared to the artificially low 35% threshold.  Given that expectations are that 100% capacity will be reinstated on 9th August, if capacity was increased to 70% or 75% this week it would greatly help the difficulties in all islands on the west coast.

“We need to have governance close at hand and responsive this summer and I hope the First Minister and the National Clinical Director are alive to the issues on the west coast.”