An increase in demand for ferry services has resulted in a call for the Scottish Government to review its current provisions.

An increase of 27% for foot passengers and 35% for cars on the Stornoway to Ullapool route alone was noted between 2014 to 2018.

MSP Rhoda Grant is calling for the Scottish Government to urgently review its ferry services.

Ms Grant said that there is an increased demand for travel to and from Scotland’s islands, but in order for this demand to be met and economic growth not to be stifled ferries have to be fit for purpose and provide the capacity required.

Ms Grant said: "Similar increases can be seen on routes throughout Scotland and this has to be welcomed and encouraged for rural economies to grow and thrive.

“Unfortunately our seagoing transport network is groaning under the strain, and solutions urgently need to be found to ensure that these lifeline services are fit for purpose.”

Ms Grant has noted that the islands are already seeing the consequences of the stretched capacity during peak times, with constituents reporting cancelled accommodation bookings and the inability to travel for medical appointments.

Ms Grant continued: “The community of the Western Isles in particular has been saying for a number of years now that additional vessels and routes are required over the summer, and they were held off with the promises of extra sailings. As yet these have yet to make an appearance and the ramifications are being felt by local people and local businesses.

“Their mismanagement of the Uig and Arran Ferries build is astonishing and it is unclear whether these ferries will ever come into service. They need to stop initiating vanity projects and provide reliable boats that can serve the needs of our communities.

“It is time that the Scottish Government stopped kicking this issue into the long grass and provide ferry services that meet demand, both immediate and long term.”