Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 27th August 2020


A bigger, 102 meter long, ferry for the Lochmaddy and Tarbert routes will not sail until 2023, some five years later than the original date. The new vessel is one of two twin ships being constructed at the Ferguson Marine yard on the Clyde. The other vessel will operate the Arran service.

Work had slowed to a crawl in 2019 and then the ship builder, owned by multi-millionaire Jim McColl, went bust before the Scottish Government took public ownership of the yard last October.

In common with the rest of the manufacturing sector, the yard has been either closed or on restricted working for nearly six months due to the impact of the coronavirus.

The total additional estimated cost for the project remains unchanged at between £94.8 million and £98.8 million.



Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the reopening of grants between £1,000 and £5,000 from Foundation Scotland’s Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund, which is focused now on recovery.

The fund will support organisations, which have less that £250k income, to continue their operations in the “new normal” of Scotland’s phased reopening of the economy after the COVID-19 lockdown.

It will also help organisations to re-establish or re-design their activities, to comply with new regulations, in addition to giving emergency support to those most in need.

Examples of activities that qualify for support are foodbanks that assist those who are shielding and otherwise struggling due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic -- or charities and communities that require extra training to deliver local services safely.

For more information go to



Shadow Health Secretary Donald Cameron, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has called for the Scottish Government to implement an urgent “treatment recovery plan” after data showed a very large drop in the number of hospital patients.

Figures published by Public Health Scotland show that, in the quarter ending 30 June 2020, 15,239 patients were seen under the ruling Scottish National Party’s treatment time guarantee. In the same quarter last year 71,613 were seen.

Mr Cameron said: “While the coronavirus pandemic goes a long way in explaining why there was such a sharp fall over this period, this staggering drop in numbers suggests that there are a lot of patients still going without treatment.”



Zero Waste Western Isles has issued a massive thank you to all who helped earlier this week to transport household rubbish and organic recycling bins back and forth across the beleaguered Bernera Bridge.

Because of weight restrictions now imposed on the nearly 70-year-old span, the standard council refuse lorry could not cross from Tir Mor to Great Bernera. So the wheelie bins had to come to Aird a Chaolais in the hamlet of Earshader to be emptied. Monday evening was especially challenging as the midges swarmed along the banks of Loch Barraglom in the fading light.

The Creed-based waste management facility said in a Facebook message: “It took a massive team effort from all involved, and huge thanks to Bernera Community Council and Bernera Community Association for all their help and invaluable local knowledge!”

All bins were reportedly returned safely to their homes.