Electric vehicles are to enjoy a 50 per cent cut in ferry fares to and from Bute in a new Scottish Government pilot - although the lack of charging points on the island means the number of people able to make use of the scheme will be limited, to say the least.
Transport minister Keith Brown announced this week that Mull and Bute would be used to pilot a 50 per cent fare reduction on single tickets for private electric vehicles.
But at present there are no facilities on Bute for charging electric vehicles, with the nearest charging points to the island being located in Glasgow, Kilmarnock and Brodick.
Charging points are already in place at Craignure and Bunessan on Mull, according to Greener Scotland’s electric vehicle charge point map, while the Scottish Government is contributing funding for rapid charge points at the ferry terminal in Oban, as well as those at Tarbert, Harris and Islay.
But faced with a 56-mile round trip to reach the closest charge point to the island, at Braehead shopping centre near Glasgow, it seems unlikely that Bute residents will be rushing to take advantage of the pilot any time soon.
Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said: “I am pleased that the pilot will take place here in Argyll and Bute.
“The scheme offers a 50 per cent fare reduction for private electric vehicles which will encourage more people who own this type of vehicle to the islands as well as attract islanders towards ownership of electric vehicles.
“The announcement has already been warmly received by the Mull EV group whom I met this morning.
“It is important that we have the infrastructure right and they were quick to point me to the recharching point in Craignure as well as the fast charging facility in Oban.
“This pilot will be pivotal in informing futre potential and opportunities so I and others will be monitoring it closely and with great interest.
“The introduction of this plilot further demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to the envronment as well as its ongoing support for a sustainable economy for our island communities.”