§ Mr. Kennedy
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the rights of Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd. with regard to its future provision of a passenger or a passenger/vehicular ferry service between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin in the light of a bridge to Skye; what assessment he has made of the potential financial impact upon the economic viability of a toll-funded bridge of some form of ferry service continuing to operate after its completion; what advice he has given to Highland regional council and to the tendering companies, respectively, on these points; and if he will make a statement.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
My right hon. Friend has made it clear that Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd. will discontinue its vehicle service on the Kyle of LochalshKyleakin crossing when the Skye bridge is opened. It has no plans to operate any vehicle service on this crossing after that time.
A socio-economic study is about to be undertaken jointly by the Scottish Office environment department, HIDB, Highland regional council and Skye and Lochalsh district council on the impact of the bridge on the local communities. This study will assess the local need and demand for a passenger-only ferry.
Highland regional council and the companies tendering for a Skye bridge are fully aware of the situation.