Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has voiced concerns at the lack of urgency the Scottish Government has shown in introducing a Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) on Orkney ferry routes.
The initiative, which was rolled out to services in the Hebrides a decade ago, was due to be delivered to the northern isle routes by the end of June.
Fresh delays have been encountered as a complaint has been made to the European Commission in regards to the Scottish Government’s plans to reduce ferry fares to Orkney.
In a written letter to the Orkney MSP, minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse informed Mr McArthur that the Scottish Government remains committed to introducing RET to Orkney and Shetland, despite only being able to reduce fares for passengers travelling to and from Shetland by 20%.
Mr McArthur said: “The ongoing delay in introducing RET on Northern Isles ferry routes means that those using these lifeline services are being forced to continue paying over the odds.
“In light of that fact, people in Orkney and Shetland have every right to expect the Scottish Government to be straining every sinew to find a resolution to the impasse with Pentland Ferries.
“The Minister’s latest response to the representations that Tavish Scott and I have been making on this issue, however, displays a worrying lack of urgency.
“Almost four months on from the planned introduction of RET on Orkney and Shetland routes, the government still appears to be dithering over ‘options available’.
“Orkney’s exclusion from the government’s cheaper ferry fares scheme has gone on for a decade and more.
“It is long past time for a greater sense of urgency.”