Uig Ferry Terminal Improvements
Members have approved the drafting and submission of a Harbour Revision Order and other construction consents for the new works required at Uig Harbour, following the decision by Transport Scotland, CMAL and CalMac, to provide a larger vessel for the Uig/Tarbert/Lochmaddy Triangle lifeline ferry service to the Western Isles.
The Highland Council, in conjunction with Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), CalMac and the Western Isles Council, has been working towards developing the three ports in preparation for the larger vessel and the potential for additional passengers and vehicle traffic. Detailed discussions are ongoing between these partners and Transport Scotland to identify the preferred works to each terminal and also to identify the funding and phasing of the works.
The funding for the capital costs of the infrastructure improvement works at Uig will be recovered through increased harbour dues which are levied on CalMac Ferries Limited. The increase in harbour dues will also cover the additional routine revenue operations. The harbour dues for Uig Ferry Terminal will increase from October 2017, to cover the capital borrowing for the detailed design works which are ongoing.
The final Masterplan Report has been completed, identifying the preferred improvement works, and this report has been submitted to Transport Scotland. Discussions are ongoing over the scope and timing of the terminal improvement works, together with the cost and associated increase in harbour dues.
Works include land reclamation, berthing structure strengthening and widening, new fendering, dredging, new gangway, linkspan refurbishment or replacement, passenger walkway shelter on the approachway and widening, the demolition and rebuilding of the existing old pier head, and relocation of harbourmaster’s office.
The demolition of the existing ticket office and construction of a new ticket office, the possible relocation of the fisherman’s compound and the widening of the approachway will be the subject of a planning application.
A wave/coastal modelling study will be carried out during detailed design to consider engineering options for improving wind, wave and swell at the berth. When the new vessel comes into service, it is proposed to monitor the climate and berthing conditions which will inform the preferred engineering option.
The inclusion of the Uig Ferry Terminal Upgrade within the Council’s capital programme will be considered by Full Council in due course.
Chair of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee said: “This agreement makes sure that the construction consents can be progressed without delay to ensure the facilities maximise the benefits of the new vessel. This is vital to the whole of the west coast, as this allows the current vessel MV Hebrides to take up other duties and cascade the fleet across the network increasing availability of service and capacity.”
Convener of the Council, Bill Lobban said: “The significant investment in Uig harbour infrastructure will be a very positive development for Skye.”
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) hosted a series of public meetings in April and September to update communities on the design and build of the new dual fuel vessel for the Skye Triangle route and to discuss harbour infrastructure at Uig, Tarbert (Harris) and Lochmaddy.
Lorna Spencer, Director of Harbours at CMAL said:
“The age and condition of the existing infrastructure at these harbours will benefit from investment to optimise operations, and we have been working with the local authorities to investigate proposals for upgrade work. No final decisions have been made on what work will be carried out and proposals are subject to funding availability.”
A Harbour Empowerment or Revision Order (HRO) is a piece of local legislation governing a port. It is made as a Scottish Statutory Instrument under the 1964 Harbours Act by Scottish Ministers. An order can create and empower Harbour Authorities to undertake works or vary their existing harbour powers.
CMAL owns property at piers and harbours at more than 26 locations throughout Scotland. CMAL is delivering a programme of investment and improvements, which will create better facilities. In addition to its pier and harbour facilities, CMAL owns 33 ferries. All 33 vessels are leased to CalMac Ferries Ltd for use on ferry services on the Clyde and Hebrides. In addition, two ferries are currently under construction.
The two dual fuel vessels are currently being built in Port Glasgow and are earmarked for the Arran and Skye Triangle routes. They will be capable of running on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine gas oil (MGO), helping to reduce carbon emissions. The vessels will carry up to 1,000 passengers and provide 646-metre vehicle lane capacity, which is approximately 25% increased carrying of a mix of cars, light vehicles, coaches and heavy goods vehicles.