Category Archives: Transport

Loganair GreenSkies Programme

Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, has today announced its “GreenSkies” environmental programme as it commits to being fully carbon neutral by 2040. It becomes the first UK regional airline to take such an ambitious step towards managing and mitigating the environmental impact of flying.

The GreenSkies initiative encompasses an immediate programme of carbon offsets to remove the same amount of carbon from the environment as that generated from each and every Loganair flight. At the same time, the airline is tackling the long-term goal of introducing sustainable aircraft into its fleet – with live trials taking place in the Orkney Islands this summer on developmental aircraft powered by hydrogen and renewable electricity as the first step to fully converting Loganair’s fleet to net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Below are links to two videos outlining the GreensSkies Programme.

Loganair GreenSkies:https://vimeo.com/560455368/39db0959b8

Loganair GreenSkies, Jonathan Hinkles:https://vimeo.com/560820701/399f4feeb4

 

 

Download the below documents for a full overview and FAQ.

Loganair_GreenSkies Q&A document_Prepared by BIG Partnership June 2021 10.06.21 – Loganair goes carbon neutral

 

 

 

 

Representative sought for West Coast Ferry Board

The Ferries Community Board (Clyde and Hebrides) is looking for new members to become voices for people who live in the areas served by ferry operator CalMac.

Members represent communities across the network and act to influence strategic issues such as the building of new vessels, infrastructure, resources and accountability.

Key achievements since the Board was formed in 2017 include the successful lobbying of the Scottish Government to release more funds for a new ticketing system. It has also been instrumental in bringing in service improvements such as the new mobile maintenance team brought in to improve fleet resilience.

Members meet four times a year and have an open dialogue with the Transport Minister, Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). They are regularly consulted on national transport strategies.

Having a Tiree representative on this group could be a real benefit for us in ensuring Tiree’s voice is heard on the particular issues we face and needs of our community, and could be supported by TCC and the Tiree Transport Forum.

Details here: https://www.calmac.co.uk/community-board-recruitment?fbclid=IwAR3VFBoPR-lK-eVaUAGT5cROVJnyLXy3wmai8C2QwzamAJB_qM36I0ea9N8

Announcement on Tiree and other islands timetable for easing COVID restrictions – 13th April

From today’s statement by the First Minister, the excerpt relating to island lockdown easing timetable:
 
“Let me say a word now about our island communities.
 
Several of our islands – including Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles – are already in level 3. That partly reflects the fact that they have had lower rates of Covid than the mainland, although there have been outbreaks that again show the need for caution even in our more remote communities and on our islands.
 
I set out previously that we would consult with island communities about whether, from 26 April, they wanted to move down to level 2 – which the data would justify – even though that would necessitate keeping travel restrictions to and from the mainland in place to avoid the risk of cases being imported to and spreading within the islands;
 
Or, alternatively, whether they preferred to stay at level 3 with the rest of the country for a further 3 weeks to enable the lifting of travel restrictions and the opening of tourism and hospitality to visitors.
 
It is fair to say there is no universal opinion here – so I know neither option will please everyone.
 
However, based on the balance of opinion, we have decided on the latter option – aligning islands with the rest of the country for a period so that travel, and therefore parts of the economy that so many islanders rely on, can operate more normally from 26 April.
 
To those who would have preferred to see the islands move to level 2 at the end of April, let me reassure you that we do expect at least a move to level 2 to happen three weeks later on 17 May. So this is not long in the context of what we have been dealing with over the past year, where every day feels like an eternity, but it’s not an unending period of time.
 
In the meantime, as a result of staying in level 3 for a bit longer, it will be possible for islanders and visitors to travel to and from the islands and I know that will make a difference to individuals and businesses on the islands.
 
More generally, we currently expect the whole country to move to at least level 2 on 17 May, to level 1 in early June; and to level 0 in later June.”

Outcome of our recent survey on Tiree’s timetable out of lockdown

Earlier today we sent the following letter to Argyll and Bute Council following our rapid-response survey announced on Friday:

Choice of Level for Tiree

Dear Robin and Pippa,

Following our useful meeting on Friday, Tiree Community Council wanted to gauge the opinion of the community on this matter as best we could in 36 hours. We therefore set up an online poll using SurveyMonkey.

We laid out our understanding of the situation laid out by the Scottish Government, and asked respondents to choose:

  • For Tiree to remain in Level 3, which would allow travel to and from the island, subject to restrictions on indoor meetings, or
  • For Tiree to move to Level 2, which would keep travel restrictions in place for an additional 3 weeks but allow for indoor meetings amongst island residents

Although we used the labels ‘Level 3’ and ‘Level 2’ for ease of reference, we acknowledge that those labels are not quite accurate, that the new arrangements proposed in the new route map are different. This was noted on the web post promoting the survey.

The survey was put together at great speed and using only our own resources. There are obvious methodological weaknesses: for example, a bias towards those using social media and the possibility that respondents could make inaccurate declarations of their place of residence.

However, we are confident it broadly represents the spread and balance of opinion in our community.

Summary:

  • 322 responses, including 273 residents, approximately 50% of the electoral roll
  • Of the residents, 41% want to remain in Level 3 with travel restrictions lifted, while 59% want to move to Level 2 with travel restrictions maintained
  • Even the majority of resident owners of tourism businesses want to move to Level 2 with travel restrictions maintained, albeit the split is more evenly balanced in this group

Many thanks for asking our opinion,

Dr John Holliday, on behalf of Tiree Community Council

You will note that we refer to the fact that what seems to be the likely options on offer to us do not correspond exactly to the former “Level 2” and “Level 3” – but rather that we used those labels as a way of simplifying the survey for people by using familiar terms – it seems we are now moving away from the previous versions of the Levels/Tiers with this new timetable, so the old versions of those levels/tiers do not really apply and things are still very subject to change.

The web post explaining the survey made this clear, although we understand some may (with the benefit of time and hindsight) feel things could have been worded better. All that can be said is that we did the best we could within the speed we felt we had to act and with which the survey was put together – and felt it best to prioritise a simple, intuitive approach.

We are given to understand that there may be further opportunity for (hopefully more thorough, less rushed) consultation on this soon. The results of this survey may not therefore be the final conclusion reached on this issue and we will continue to do our best to engage the community to ensure a representative position is taken going forward.

On a positive note – for the survey to have achieved 322 responses, of which 273 are from island residents (representing about half of the entire electoral roll on the island) in the space of just over 2 days is a remarkable response, of which we should all be proud. Thank you for participating if you were able to.

Thanks to some excellent work by TCC councillor Iona Campbell, please see below a write-up of the full results of the survey.

Result of Urgent Public Consultation on the Isle of Tiree copy

Urgent consultation survey – Tiree route out of lockdown

We have been asked on very short notice for our views in relation to the announcement First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made regarding the planned timetable for easing of restrictions out of lockdown for Scotland – specifically regarding the mention of there being options for islands like ours which have been under slightly more eased restrictions.

We have not been given much clarity on what possible range of options may be available but as best we can determine it seems likely to be a straight choice between two main options.

Background:

According to the timetable for easing restrictions, there is an expectation that we will be allowed to travel freely within Local Authority areas for non-essential purposes (rather than the “stay at home” restrictions operating on the mainland). There will then be a general shift on April 26th which can broadly be thought of as the mainland of Scotland returning to what was called “level 3” – for the most part. At that point up to 6 people from up to 3 households will be allowed to meet outdoors, and up to 4 people from 2 households can socialise indoors in a public place such as a café or restaurant. These are similar to the restrictions Tiree is currently under . However the key difference is that travel will from that point be allowed across mainland Scotland, not just within your Local Authority area – and tourist accommodation will be allowed to resume general operation – i.e. people will be allowed to travel and stay overnight, as long as it is using tourist accommodation.

Because island communities like Tiree have been relatively safer with lower or zero case levels, there is an option (we assume from April 26th) for islands like ours to drop from current restriction level (level 3) to what will be the new level 2 equivalent. We assume this to mean something similar to the restrictions which are expected to come in no earlier than May 17th – at which point up to 4 people from 2 households can socialise indoors in a private home.

However: The Scottish Government concern is that if people were able to travel freely to and from islands like ours, we would be under disproportionate risk if we were to be operating under greater easing of restrictions from the earlier date. They are therefore considering that if islands like ours were to continue to be treated separately from the mainland, and move to lower restrictions on April 26th, it would need to be accompanied by a continuation of travel restrictions to and from those islands until the later May 17th date. Note: we are unclear if this would also imply us not being able to travel within the local authority area from April 2nd

We are therefore being consulted about a choice on how we would prefer to be treated.

Again we must emphasise that this has been a fast moving issue and there is not a lot of clarity on exactly what options would be considered, there may be some sort of middle ground possible – but as best we can tell this boils down to choosing between two options:

Option A: Tiree would remain in “Level 3”, and would align with the new eased restrictions for mainland Scotland as of April 2nd, and then on April 26th. Tourists would be allowed to travel to and from the island as of the 26th, and residents would be allowed to travel off the island within Scotland (Note: not necessarily cross border travel to England or elsewhere)  and return, but all under level 3 restrictions – e.g. no indoor visits, accommodation only in hotels/tourist accommodation instead of staying with family, etc.

Option B: Tiree would move to the new “Level 2” equivalent earlier – possibly from April 26th, or possibly even April 2nd (we aren’t sure on this point!) – meaning lesser restrictions within the island community (indoor visits would be allowed, etc) – however travel to and from mainland Scotland would NOT be allowed for visitors or residents until the later easing of restrictions on May 17th – i.e. these further eased restrictions would only be available to us within Tiree itself until that later date.

Short-term Survey consultation:

We have set up a simple short survey poll to canvass opinion from the community, in addition to reaching out directly to consult with Tiree based business owners and operators. We have been asked to feed in a view by Monday 22nd – three days from the posting of this survey – so please respond quickly! You can complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PGWG6PD

If you have only one device but multiple people wishing to express a vote, drop us an e-mail or comment on the page instead as the survey only lets you vote once per device.

Some factors that the TCC members have considered in our own discussion of this:

  • Option A allows an earlier resumption of tourism visits and therefore trade for island based tourism business – with resulting economic benefit
  • Option A allows earlier travel off island for residents – albeit with pretty high restrictions still in effect – which could allow for some family contact (outdoors or limited in public places such as cafés etc). Alternatively family could come here, but they would need to stay in tourist accommodation, and the same restrictions would apply.
  • Option A allows for earlier access to things like travel off-island for shopping for things not available on-island – although note that this will not be practical for most people on Tiree from April 2nd as tourist accommodation for non-essential use does not resume until April 26th.
  • We are only talking about a period expected to be 3-5 weeks. Is it worth adding another layer of restrictions/complexity for the island compared to the mainland for such a short time rather than just being treated the same as the mainland?
  • Option A would have a greater/earlier risk impact on staff who work in service/retail that will be in contact with visitors coming here from the mainland.
  • Option B allows greater freedoms within the island community – but not for travel to and from the island. So those with family and friends here could see more of each other under that option, but not for family elsewhere.
  • Option B is technically the safer option for those who live here with regards to the pandemic – but vaccination levels are increasing steadily, and with the retention of higher restriction level for longer under Option A this safety factor as not as dominant as it was earlier in the pandemic
  • However – if the planned easing of restrictions does not go well and there is a resurgence in cases, or new variants of the virus, etc, remaining more secluded may mean the island could avoid as severe a return to lockdown and some of that risk.

What do you think?

Feel free to register and comment on this post below with your view as well as completing the survey on the two expected options. Please be mindful of our policy on comments

Opinion survey on Gott Bay Pier, marshalling area, car park

As discussed at recent meetings there have been a number of communications to TCC about the Gott Bay Pier, marshalling area and the road and car park areas there. Caledonian Marine Assets Limited (CMAL) are considering some works there, and there have been suggestions that wider work could be done to improve safety, appearance and functionality of the area.

We would like to invite members of the community as well as regular visitors to Tiree to respond to a survey we are running on this issue, which can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YN2QBNJ

Winter ferry timetable extended

Today we received the following update from Calmac:

Further to my email of 26th February, I can now confirm that following further advice received from Transport Scotland, the current Winter timetable will remain in force until Sunday April 25th. Consequently, the Summer timetable for 2021 will now commence on Monday 26th April.

All customers with existing reservations from for the period March 26th through to April 25th will be contacted to advise of these changes and, where necessary, moved to an alternative sailing. This may take a few days to complete.

Wider communication of this information will now follow, with changes to our booking system and website to follow as soon as we can facilitate this.

As a general advisory we would suggest that any residents who will need to make essential travel in the coming months should book as soon as possible to secure the best chances of avoiding disruption due to capacity issues. The TCC will be discussing at our upcoming meeting  how we might engage with Calmac and Transport Scotland to discuss ways we might make some provision to ensure resident essential travel is not unduly impacted by restrictions.

Proposed ferry reductions and TCC response

TCC was contacted by Calmac on behalf of Transport Scotland on Sunday 21st Feb with the following letter:

Transport Scotland have asked CalMac to seek community views on potential service reductions across the network. This is requested in the context of current overall demand, continuing travel restrictions, and follows other transport operators being asked to reduce services.

Your feedback will help inform Transport Scotland and Ministers in making decisions on any service reductions. Transport Scotland have not yet indicated any potential commencement date nor duration, should reductions proceed. These potential reductions ensure lifeline services are maintained, and reduces unnecessary interactions between customers, vessel crews and port staff, reducing  the risk of community transmission.

Community feedback is requested by Wednesday 24th February, to enable Transport Scotland to discuss proposals and community feedback at a Local Authority engagement session, planned for the 25th February. Following the engagement session, CalMac will make any changes requested by Transport Scotland.

In specific regard to Coll and Tiree, this involves the suspension of the current Monday sailing, with all other services remaining as timetabled.

I would be grateful if you could please email me with your response, copying in the Transport Planning address above, who will collate all feedback and submit to Transport Scotland.

With thanks and regards,

Don McKillop

Area Operations Manager – Argyll & Lochaber

 

Clearly three days was not sufficient time for us to conduct a meaningful consultation with the wider community – we therefore did what we could in a more focussed way to contact key service providers – e.g. the GP surgery, the main shops, hauliers, fisherpeople, etc.

Today we sent the following reply to Transport Scotland (via Calmac):

 

Don,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to give our input to your discussions. However, the Tiree Community Council feels it has not had sufficient time to fully consult with all interested parties on Tiree. We did manage to contact the main hauliers, the local shops, some local shellfish fishermen, our medical staff, many of which live off island and the local school, which you will know share a head teacher and some key staff with Oban. Each group gave eloquent reasons for the retention of sailings on different days.

We did not have enough time to consult with other interested parties such as the building trade, utilities or social services. However, based on previous conversations, the Monday/Tuesday combination allows specialists to come to Tiree while only requiring one overnight stay.

The clear result of pulling together the responses is that any cut would have a significant impact on at least one essential service or already under-pressure industry, and as you might expect the strong general theme from all parties was that they did not wish any sailing to be cut.

We also had many asking if there is likely to be an impact on the resumption of the summer timetable given the current issues facing the fleet, and if so what that might be, and what we should now expect in terms of the summer timetable given both the current issues and the recent announcements by the FM?

Yours Faithfully,

TCC has been engaging with Calmac throughout the recent disruption to service to the island, ensuring that the serious issues facing the island with no food deliveries, etc, were raised in strong terms – with the result being additional sailings to help alleviate the immediate backlog – however there remain significant capacity issues across the fleet with technical problems and of course the weather affecting the fleet, which is depleted as usual for this time of year due to scheduled refits. We will continue to argue for the best possible provision for service to Tiree and Coll, working with our counterpart Community Council there, and to maintain pressure on Government to take action on the wider, longer term issues of fleet capacity and serviceability.

UPDATE:

Just as we were about to publish this post, we became aware that Transport Scotland are apparently now committing to not reduce sailings unless this was supported by communities – which suggests we should not expect to see any further reduction.

A news article relating to this has now been posted: http://www.hebrides-news.com/ferry-row-24221.html

Recent correspondence re Tiree air service vehicle replacement

On behalf of both the Community Council and the independent Tiree Transport Forum our Convenor recently sent the following letter:

Dear Michael,
Tiree Community Council and Tiree Transport Forum have asked me to write to you.
Both bodies are concerned about the consequences of Loganair’s pivot away from
their SAAB 340 fleet to the ATR 42 as the airline sought to develop scale and a wider
footprint before Covid-19 struck. The ATR is unable to land at Tiree airport.
As you know, pre-pandemic, the Scottish Government’s two Twin Otter DHC6-400s
occasionally struggled to maintain the busy Glasgow, Barra, Tiree and Campeltown
rotations. The availability of the SAABs allowed Loganair to task these planes on an
emergency basis if one of the Twin Otters were taken out of the schedule. This has
not been infrequent on the Tiree run.
Obviously, passenger numbers have been heavily impacted by Covid and you must
have more pressing matters in your in-tray at the moment.
However, adding or replacing plane capacity is an expensive and complex task with a
long lead time. We wondered if the programme to phase out the SAABs has slipped
because of the pandemic, and how Transport Scotland intends to replace the
capacity that the SAAB fleet has given Loganair in the past.

Yours sincerely,
Dr John Holliday, Convenor, Tiree Community Council on behalf of the community
council and the Tiree Transport Forum

 

We have now received the following reply:

Dear John

Thank you for your e-mail of 18 November 2020 about Loganair’s fleet replacement plans. I hope you are keeping well in these difficult times.

My understanding is that, while Loganair’s plan to phase out their Saab 340s and replace them with ATRs has been delayed due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still their intention to complete their fleet replacement programme. As you note, the Saab 340 is sometimes used on the Tiree-Glasgow service and the ATR cannot be used due to its weight. Two of the assessment criteria as part of the tender process for the PSO contract are relevant here – ‘maintenance and back-up arrangements’ and ‘proposals for non-availability of aircraft’. The ‘maintenance and back-up arrangements’ criteria recognises that the aircraft normally used on the routes will be out of service at various times in order for routine maintenance to be undertaken. This includes each aircraft’s annual heavy maintenance check which takes several weeks. Loganair confirmed as part of their bid that they own a Twin Otter aircraft, in addition to the two they lease from HIAL, that will be used in the delivery of services from Glasgow to Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra.

In relation to ‘proposals for non-availability of aircraft’, Loganair’s bid set out a clear, multi-layered approach offering a high degree of resilience which provided us with assurance that they could continue to provide the services even if the normal aircraft used on them were unavailable. This included use of their own Twin Otter aircraft as well calling on other aircraft in their fleet should that be necessary. At the extreme, the leasing in of further aircraft would be considered.

There is no requirement within our contract for Loganair to use specific aircraft types for the provision of services. This is deliberate so that it gives an airline the maximum flexibility to ensure that services are provided. Loganair is, however, contractually required to provide the services as per the specification. Should they fail to do so then we would take action under the contract to address the situation.

You will be aware that Covid-19 has led to a significant drop in passenger numbers across the air network and including the Glasgow-Tiree service. As a result of this, the number of weekly rotations has been reduced to take account of this lower demand. It is neither economically nor environmentally desirable for an airline to be flying empty planes. We expect, however, that this reduction in frequency will be a short term measure. We expect demand to pick up again next year as the Covid-19 situation is resolved and travel restrictions are lifted. In the longer term, we are committed to the provision of the current specification during this contract period and I look forward to continuing to engage with you and your colleagues on the Community Council and Transport Forum, both in terms of ensuring that services are currently operating as they should in meeting the needs of the community as well as considering further refinements to the specification for the next contract period.

Should you have any further queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely

Michael Bratcher
Aviation Policy
Transport Scotland