Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Lands End Airport re-opens today with hard runway surfaces.

 Everybody will be pleased to hear today that Lands End Runway has re-opened with hard surfaces ready for use.  You can read the Scilly Today item here.

 The IOSSCO has received a lot of 'flak' over the timing of the work but it is unjustified given the circumstances.  The IOSC were in the 'last chance saloon' with regards to getting this work completed with EU funds covering 50% of the costs (IOSSCO is funding the remainder).  The current ERDF tranch expires in 2015 and the new tranche is not earmarked for infrastructure.  The work could not be completed much earlier in the year because Brussells only confirmed that the project complied with 'state aid rules' in May 2014 (it was a UK Govt requirement that IOSC obtained written confirmation in advance of the work starting).  As the IOSC carries the financial risk there was a need to avoid doing this work in the winter because of the extra costs and risks involved.

The IOSC is to be complemented on delivering this proejct and the IOSSCO complemented on investing another £1.3 million in improved infrastructure.  The project does not at a stroke solve the islands' transport problem but it is a very important and welcome improvement.

Comment

The delay in the project was not due to high summer temperature but due to the 'formula' used to make the base layer of the runway.  The layer was not sufficiently strong and had to be reworked to meet the necessay specification. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

FRIST's summer newsletter available

FRIST's summer newsletter was emailed out today to all those signed up for the newsletter - currently 1435 people.  A paper version will be mailed out shortly to those who are registered for paper copies.  We would like to thank generous donors for funding the printing and mailing costs of the paper copies - it allows us to comunication with everybody interested in our work..

You can view the summer newsletter (pdf document) here.


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Transport Committee Report published - Sympathetic to islanders' plight.

The report of the House of Commons Transport Committee inquiry into passenger transport for isolated communities was published on 22 July 2014.  The report can be downloaded here  .  Page 8 of the report ("Isles of Scilly") is copied below:

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Re-opening of Lands End Airport delayed until 29 July


Currently flights to the IOS from Cornwall are all channelled through Newquay Airport whilst Laggan Construction replaces grass runways at Lands End Airport with hard tarmac surfaces.  Due to technical problems the work is going to take longer than expected meaning flights will continue to fly from Newquay until 29 July rather than 21 July.  

The IOS Steamship Company have put out the the following press release explaining the situation: .............

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Poor visibility disrupts flights to Scilly



Low cloud and mist has caused serious disruption to flights to Scilly today.  Passengers had to be diverted from Newquay (Lands End Airport is currently closed due to runways works) to Penzance this morning to sail on the Scillonian.  Holidaymakers in Penzance looking for a day trip on the Scillonian were turned  away as spare places were assigned to stranded air passengers.  There has been a desperate search for hotel/guest house rooms in Penzance by stranded passengers.

The weather forecast suggests gradually improving visibility on Sunday and thereafter.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Prime Minister announces rail improvement package for Cornwall


Extract from Department for Transport Press Release 3 July 2014:

Cornwall will benefit from a multi-million pound package of rail improvements that will lift the local economy, create new jobs and provide faster train journeys, the Prime Minister announced today (3 July 2014).

The £146.6 million deal has tourism at its core. Passengers travelling by sleeper train into the county will be able to start their holiday relaxing in newly refurbished carriages.

The deal will ensure:
the interior of the Night Riviera Sleeper trains, which run between Penzance and London - one of only two sleeper services in the UK - will be completely overhauled
the Long Rock train maintenance site at Penzance will be expanded to maintain Cornwall’s sleeper trains, safeguarding jobs and creating new training opportunities
a major programme of signalling improvements will start five years earlier than planned, providing faster journeys between Penzance and Totnes and paving the way for the potential introduction of half-hourly services on the Cornish mainline.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Ensuring that we have first class infrastructure across Britain is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and provide a brighter future for hardworking people. This investment, which will boost the local economy and improve connectivity, is great news for Cornwall, the south-west and beyond.

The package includes £9 million of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT), £29.6 million secured through Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), £103.5 million from Network Rail and £4.5 million from train operator First Great Western.


Read the full press release here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-package-of-rail-improvements-for-cornwall


Futher information from Business Cornwall here .  
BBC news item here .

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Isles of Scilly Council Statement 27 June 2014



The following press statement was issued by the IOS Council on 27 June:

In April this year, the community came together to discuss transport issues at the Transport Users' Forum. This was a good opportunity for the Transport for Scilly board to listen to transport users and to draw up an action plan. A Transport Task & Finish Group and the Isles of Scilly Transport Board have met several times. These groups were set up in response to Baroness Kramer's challenge to bring all the stakeholders together to develop a clear strategy that will address transport issues now and in the future.

The Chairman of the Council and the Chief Executive were invited by the Minister to provide an update on Thursday 26 June. The meeting provided an opportunity to explain the composition and functions of each group. The Minister endorsed the approach of partners moving towards a better transport solution by focusing on three key themes: reliability, integration and cost of transport. The delegation made a strong case for continued departmental support on current projects and shared with the Minister that the community has asked to explore further options to reduce the cost of transport.

The Minister welcomed the Chairman's invitation to visit the Isles of Scilly later in the year.

George Pearson
Community Relations Officer


Council of the Isles of Scilly, Town Hall, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, TR21 0LW
Direct Line: 01720 424323 (ext: 403) | Reception: 01720 424000 | gpearson@scilly.gov.uk


Comment:

FRIST welcomes the Council’s inclusion of the cost of transport as an important issue. If the islands are to remain a mainstream tourist destination (rather than a smaller exclusive high end boutique destination) then the issue of the cost of travel has to be addressed.


















Lands End Airport Closure 4 – 20 July for Runway Works


Skybus have announced that Lands End Airport will be closed from the 4th to the 20th July in order to carry out the major engineering works to provide hard runway surfaces.  All flights to and from Lands End Airport over this period have been rescheduled to use Newquay Airport. 

The work is inevitably going to inconvenience many travellers given the time of year but delaying the work until the winter would have incurred substantial risks and extra costs. 

FRIST understands that Skybus have written to all passengers who are booked on flights affected by the closure explaining the alternative arrangements that have been made for them.  Further details can be found on the Isles of Scilly Travel website at www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk