Bute ferry fares petition gathers pace

A PETITION protesting against the high cost of ferry travel to Bute has attracted around a thousand signatures in its first week, according to one of its creators.

The idea of a small group of current or retired Bute businessmen, including Norman Lamond and TSC founder Lennie Moffat, the petition has the support of the island’s tourism and marketing organisation, VisitBute – and, according to Mr Lamond, has met with only one refusal to sign since it was launched during the weekend of the Bute Highland Games.

“We want the government to look at the best thing to help Bute in the short term,” Mr Lamond said.

“Regardless of tendering or anything else, we hope they will do something about the situation quickly.”

The petition, which runs until September 7, is to be presented to three senior SNP politicians - local MSP Michael Russell, infrastructure minister Alex Neil and transport minister Keith Brown – next month. It will also be sent to the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee.

Mr Russell said: “The manifesto commitment  to putting RET in place during in this Parliament will be honoured , and that was a commitment made by no other political  party. However I understand the concern of Bute residents who want to see it introduced as soon as possible.

“I have already said I will be pleased to help take the issue forward, but of course at a time when the Scottish Government’s  budget is being slashed by the Tories and Liberals at Westminster we all have to recognise the financial pressures that exist.

“I hope to meet those behind the petition at an early date and will do everything I can to help.”