The island of Kerrera has a number of ferry services. There are, however, some concerns that they do not meet the needs of the islanders; and anecdotally they are not commercial and therefore not sustainable in the medium term. Transport Scotland, working alongside the current ferry operators, the island residents and Argyll and Bute Council, are putting in place measures to ensure that the ferry services continue to operate in the short term. This includes some enhancements to existing provision.
The research was commissioned to identify and assess longer term options for ferry provision to Kerrera. A number of specific infrastructure issues were also to be investigated. The level of work required was akin to pre-appraisal STAG and part 1 STAG.
The work was undertaken between November 2012 and February 2013. It comprised:
•Face-to-face and telephone consultations with the island community and other stakeholders.
•Review of existing documents.
•An engineering review which included an inspection of existing infrastructure.
A public meeting was held on Kerrera in early February 2013. Feedback and comment received was fed into the option assessment.
An initial list of individual options was developed. They were assessed against the transport planning objectives and in terms of their complementarity to one another.
The outcomes were used to put together the best performing individual options into meaningful packages for the purpose of the option assessment. These were:
•Do Minimum-using existing vehicle ferry route.
•A: enhanced ferry service on existing vehicle ferry route, plus road investment on Kerrera (link road from north to middle of Kerrera and upgraded south road).
•B: enhanced ferry service on existing vehicle ferry route, no road investment.
•C: direct vehicle ferry service to Oban, plus road investment on Kerrera (link road from north to middle of Kerrera and upgraded south road).
•D: direct vehicle ferry service to Oban, no road investment.
From the option appraisal we conclude that Option A amended to exclude a south road upgrade appears the most affordable and achievable overall solution. It would offer significant benefits and very largely meet the current transport needs of the community.