MSP urges rethink on island parking charges

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has urged Argyll and Bute Council to reconsider its decision to introduce £9-a-day car parking charge at car parks on Mull. Among the car parks affected is one at Fionnphort which is used by passengers travelling to Iona by ferry.

Mr Cameron said that the Council should assess carefully the legal action that has been launched by islanders to challenge the charges.

Mr Cameron said: “I am urging the Council to reconsider the imposition of such a high charge and listen to what local people are saying. The Council is confronted by a legal challenge and it really ought to take that into account as well.

“My concern is that additional car park charges like these would add even more pressure to our island communities which are struggling to cope with all the other extra costs associated with their remote location.

“Local people understandably make the point that there are no realistic travel alternatives for them, so the car park charges amount to an extra tax.”

The Scottish Conservative MSP also expressed sympathy for the financial predicament facing Argyll and Bute Council.

“It is very frustrating to hear SNP ministers in Holyrood paying lip service to the importance of supporting our island communities while, at the same time, slashing the budget of the Council which has responsibility for delivering essential services to the islands.

“Money due to the Council is simply not being passed on by ministers who prefer to spend it on their own pet projects which, all too often, do not benefit people in the Highlands and Islands.

“However, while the unfair financial settlement that Argyll and Bute Council is an issue which needs to be addressed, I very much hope, in the meantime, that the Council will listen to the communities affected by these charges and take action to reverse the decision.”