The Scottish Government has been forced to admit that a decision to purchase the boats serving the Northern Isles routes has put them even further behind one of their own key green targets.
In response to questioning by Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson revealed in a letter to the Scottish Parliament’s REC Committee that the proportion of low emission ferries had actually fallen because of the purchase of the boats, with Mr Matheson admitting the SNP’s own target of 30% of state-run ferries to be powered by environmentally-friendly technology by 2032 was now “more stretching”.
Mr Halcro Johnston, who is from Orkney, said: “The Scottish Government really doesn’t have its problems to seek on ferries, and this is just the latest in a series of embarrassing revelations. Instead of greening Scotland’s ferry fleet, the Transport Secretary has confirmed that the Scottish Government are actually going backwards on low emission ferries."
“SNP ministers try and talk a good game when it comes to meeting their climate change targets, but the reality is far different."
“And, of course, island communities on the west coast of Scotland are still waiting for their new ferries to be delivered after the SNP’s catastrophic failure to manage the procurement of the two new CalMac hybrid ferries; ferries which will enter service two years late and at twice the original cost."
“This will be of real concern for islands communities in the Northern Isles given the increasingly pressing need for serious investment in our inter-island fleet and no clarity on if or when those will be delivered, or who’ll have to pay for them."
“Millions of taxpayers’ money wasted. Ferries sitting rusting in yards instead of operating to the island communities they’re meant to serve. And now, instead of progress on key green targets, those targets being further away than ever. All because of the dead hand of Scottish Government maladministration”.
This was the lead story in The Herald today - https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/19106449.snps-low-emission-ferries-pledge-going-backwards/
Link to Jamie Halcro Johnston questioning the Transport Secretary on this issue at REC Committee - https://shar.es/aoACuC