In October 2021, the Council secured £48.4m towards the cost of replacing vessels and associated harbour improvements to safeguard the long-term future of Scilly’s lifeline sea links.
In order for the government to allocate the funding, the Council is required to submit a full business case to the Department for Transport (DfT). We are pleased to confirm that at the meeting of Council on 12 April 2022, Councillors approved the submission of the business case including detailed plans for the project and designs for the vessels and quay works, with the route to be operated by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group. The DfT will now carry out a rigorous review, assessing the costs, benefits and risks of the project before making a decision on whether it can proceed in its current form.
Whilst this represents excellent progress on the project, we want to make the community aware that the expected completion time for the vessels and harbour works has been delayed by 1 year. This is due to a request to provide further details on the proposals by the DfT. The harbour improvements and new vessels are expected to be completed by 31 March 2025 instead of the original 2024 target.
A decision on the business case from the DfT is expected by early summer at which point we will provide a further update to the community.
Councillor Robert Francis, Chairman of Council, said: “we are pleased to have reached another milestone in this huge investment into the Isles of Scilly. The Council is under no illusion as to the size of the task ahead and getting to this stage was only made possible by working in collaboration with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, Duchy of Cornwall, Tresco Estate, and Derek Thomas MP, Chair of the Isles of Scilly Transport Board. It is vital that we take this opportunity to safeguard our lifeline sea links and achieve transformative improvements for our residents, businesses and visitors.”
Stuart Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “the submission of the full business case brings us another step closer to the start of the build of these three important and exciting new vessels which will deliver a generational change for passengers and freight travelling to the Isles of Scilly. I now look forward to the final approval announcement from DfT and the start of the next stage in delivering new vessels to continue, and improve, the lifeline link to the Islands.”