Orkney Islands Council Leader James Stockan has expressed concern that cheaper ferry fares are not being introduced on routes between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.
He said: “While pleased that there will be an immediate fare reduction on the Kirkwall – Lerwick route, I am extremely disappointed that RET (Road Equivalent Tariff) is not being introduced for ferry travel across the Pentland Firth.
“It means the highest ferry fares in Scotland will be charged on the Pentland Firth, compared to similar-length crossings elsewhere in the country, and this will seriously disadvantage our community. I am sure that people across Orkney will share my concern and frustration.”
Councillor Stockan added: “In Orkney’s best interests, efforts must continue to reach an agreement that allows RET to be brought in on Pentland Firth routes and I urge all those involved to find a way forward.
“In the meantime, I am asking the Cabinet Secretary to make immediate improvements to the current contract with Serco NorthLink, including the restoration of a year-round middle-of-the-day return crossing on the Stromness-Scrabster route, and freight fares on the Pentland Firth that are in line with those on similar-length crossings in other parts of Scotland. It is within the Cabinet Secretary’s gift to do this.”