FRIST is a community and business group which has come together to campaign for an affordable and reliable year-round lifeline service between the Isles of Scilly and the mainland, comparable to that enjoyed by the Scottish Isles.
At the first meeting of the FRIST Advisory Group (31 August 2012), the objectives of FRIST were agreed as follows:
To achieve a lifeline service for passengers and freight between the Isles of Scilly and the mainland which is reliable, regular (at least a daily service on weekdays all year round) and affordable on a similar basis to that provided for the Scottish Isles.
SHORT-TO-MEDIUM TERM AIMS
FRIST urges Ministers to adopt a pragmatic approach to ERDF funding and give the immediate go-ahead for the improvement works at St. Mary’s harbour to improve the quay facilities and extension, together with those works at Penzance Harbour which can be achieved within the timetable for existing European funding allocation.
FRIST also urges Ministers to ensure a reliable daily service throughout the coming winter months if the helicopter service ceases as announced from 1st November 2012. This is necessary because the Skybus fixed-wing service is more susceptible than the helicopter service to crosswinds, fog, and (for Land’s End airport) to a waterlogged runway. Improvements at Land’s End airport will not satisfy FRIST’s overarching objective. The Scillonian III is booked for its annual refit this winter. Also, although a side issue, the freight ship, Gry Maritha, is due for a refit for two weeks in October 2012.
Until such time as these objectives are achieved, FRIST will focus its attention on the major challenges posed by the lifeline link with the mainland rather than inter-island and on-island transport issues. The pressing issues are maintaining lifeline services in the winter months and finding a long term sustainable solution for lifeline services that allows both Scilly and West Cornwall to maximise their economic potential. FRIST intends to pursue solutions to these issues through discussions with the affected local Councils, Cornwall Council, Government and the European Union and to do so with the support of the wider community of individuals and businesses concerned about the future of the Isles of Scilly.
4 September 2012