Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Renewed call for RET to bring cheaper ferry fares to Orkney

Orkney Islands Council leader James Stockan
Orkney Islands Council leader James Stockan

The Scottish Government is being urged to bring in cheaper ferry fares for passengers to Orkney, more than decade after they were first rolled out in other parts of Scotland.

Orkney Islands Council leader James Stockan said the end of the Brexit transition period had removed any possible obstacle to the introduction of road equivalent tariff (RET) on inter-island routes and those to mainland Scotland.

“This milestone takes away any concerns ministers might have about the need for further engagement with the European Commission before RET is implemented for our community,” he said.

“There is absolutely nothing now preventing the government from significantly reducing the cost of ferry travel for our residents and visitors, ending the many years of disadvantage Orkney has suffered when compared to other island communities in Scotland.”

RET was introduced as a pilot on a number of west coast ferry routes in 2008. It was rolled out on all Clyde and Hebrides routes by October 2015, with fares on routes to Shetland reduced in 2018.

The aim is to ensure that ferry fares are broadly similar to the cost incurred by someone driving the same distance as the ferry route.

The government has previously been pressed on the issue after an earlier deadline was missed.

Mr Stockan has now asked Paul Wheelhouse, the minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, for urgent talks on introducing RET equivalent fares as soon as possible.

He said: “We want to engage positively with the Government on this. RET equivalent fares will have a hugely beneficial impact for Orkney – reducing fares that are far higher than those on equivalent routes elsewhere in Scotland.

“Ending this inequality will remove a major barrier standing in the way of Orkney’s recovery from the enormous impact the pandemic has had on our community and local economy.

“I’m asking the minister to work with us in finally rolling out RET equivalent fares for Orkney – a move critical to our economic recovery, which will have an immediate impact on the daily lives of folk in some of our most fragile communities and provide a welcome boost for our tourism businesses as we look forward with hope to a brighter 2021.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Following the December 31 publication by the UK Government of its guidance on implementation and operation of subsidy rules, we are working through this to understand what it means for Scottish Government subsidies, including ferries, and will discuss this with our local authority partners, including Orkney Islands Council, when we are able to discuss the implications of the new guidance.”

She said there will be no changes to ferries policy while the work on understanding compliance matters continues.




Already a subscriber? Sign in