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30 July 2010

Northern Isles ferry services

Views of Orkney and Shetland communities are being sought as part of a study into potential cost reduction measures on the Northern Isles ferry services currently provided by NorthLink Ferries.

The study will consider the potential impacts the proposed changes may have on businesses, organisations and individuals. It will be carried out by BM Consulting and Reference Economic Consultants who will shortly contact a range of ferry users and other interested parties for their views.

This work will be overseen by a working group drawn from the Scottish Government, Orkney Islands Council, ZetTrans and NorthLink Ferries. It follows the commitment given by Ministers earlier this year to carry out further work to explore options to achieve savings on the services.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

"It is vital that the Orkney and Shetland communities are able to play their part in contributing to long term sustainable economic growth for Scotland. These lifeline services provide a vital transport link and it is important that we look at how we can continue to provide a cost effective and efficient service within the current challenging economic climate".

The work will be carried out over the next few weeks and the working group will report back to Ministers in the autumn.

People can also contribute their views by email to NIF consultation or by writing to: Scottish Government, Ferries Division, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ.

The deadline for making comments to the Scottish Government is Tuesday, 31st August 2010.
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