Plans to construct a series of tunnels and bridges linking the Western Isles are moving forward following an “interesting and successful” visit to the Faroe Islands to inspect its model.
A delegation, headed up by Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, visited the Faroes on a fact-finding mission to assess its tunnel and bridge-link system with a view to replicating the infrastructure in the Western Isles.
Uist councillor Iain M Macleod said: “We had a very interesting and successful visit to the Faroe Islands.
“We met a range of different government and community stakeholders and discussed a range of topics from community development through to population retention and their approach to infrastructure such as tunnels.
“There are a number of structural differences between the political and financial set-up in the Faroes to the Western Isles and Scotland, which makes direct replication of some of what they do difficult.
“I believe, however, that there are a lot of issues we can learn from and adapt to our local circumstances. A report will therefore go to the next meetings of the Uist Economic Taskforce and the Comhairle making recommendations as to how we progress from here.
“One of these recommendations will be around infrastructure and tunnels. I hope these recommendations are supported and that we will see progress being made around the potential for tunnels over the next period.”
Mr MacNeil said last month: “The transport network in the Faroes is the kind of system we should aspire to follow in the Scottish islands.
“Infrastructure of this kind would have huge economic and social benefit to all parts of the islands and would remove travel disruption due to weather conditions or issues associated with capacity.”
Mr MacNeil also stressed that the price of the new infrastructure would not fall on the tax-payer, but that outlying costs would be funded by international loans, which would then be repaid from the tolls collected from motorists using the roads.