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BRIEFING ON SUBVENTION FOR FERRY SERVICES IN NORTHERN IRELAND

BRIEFING ON SUBVENTION FOR FERRY SERVICES IN NORTHERN IRELAND

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Published by Nevin
This briefing was provided by the Department of Regional Development for a question and answer session of the Committee for Regional Development in Belfast on Wednesday 14 November 2012.
This briefing was provided by the Department of Regional Development for a question and answer session of the Committee for Regional Development in Belfast on Wednesday 14 November 2012.

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Published by: Nevin on Nov 20, 2012
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BRIEFING ON SUBVENTION FOR FERRY SERVICES IN NORTHERN IRELANDStrangford Lough Ferry Service
The Strangford Lough Ferry Service is directly provided by Roads Service and isparticularly important to those who live in the Lower Ards Peninsula, as it facilitatesimproved access to schools, hospitals and other services.History A ferry service has been in existence between Portaferry and Strangford for almost four centuries and was first granted a ferry quarter by James I in 1612 to a Peter Tumulton.The first steam ferry in Ireland, "The Lady of the Lake", was commissioned to take upservice between Portaferry and Strangford in June 1836.In early 1946, two flat bottom landing craft, capable of accommodating about 36passengers was brought into service.The ferry service continued to operate as a privately owned passenger service until 1967,when it was brought into Government ownership within Down County Council.Down County Council started the current roll-on roll-off vehicle ferry service in September 1969.Following the re-organisation of local government in October 1973, responsibility for theferry service transferred to the Ministry of Development Roads Executive andsubsequently to DoE Roads Service.In December 1999, responsibility for the Strangford Lough Ferry Service transferred to theDepartment for Regional Development when Roads Service became part of DRD.GeneralTo travel the distance between Strangford and Portaferry by road is approximately 75kilometres and takes about an hour and a half by car. By contrast, the ferry route isapproximately 0.6 nautical miles with a typical crossing time of about eight minutes.
 
BRIEFING ON SUBVENTION FOR FERRY SERVICES IN NORTHERN IRELAND
The Strangford to Portaferry route is an important transport link in the local economy.Whilst not classified as a life-line route, such as Ballycastle to Rathlin, the route carries anaverage of about 1,500 passengers per day. including many schoolchildren to and fromschool.The ferry runs for approximately 16 hours each day, 364 days per year.The service normally operates with one vessel, leaving each slipway at 30 minuteintervals; from Strangford on the hour and half hour and from Portaferry at a quarter pastand a quarter to the hour.The ferry is operated by Roads Service staff, with specialist marine work undertakenthrough an external contractor. Overall running costs vary from year to year, depending onthe amount of maintenance work required by the vessels at annual refits. Almost all of themaintenance work carried out is deemed essential in order to retain Maritime andCoastguard Agency certification.The Department's Roads Service has advised that for:2011/12 the total costs (operating and notional) were £2,627,994 and incomereceived from ticket sales was £910,846;2010/11 the total costs (operating and notional] were £2,175,601 and incomereceived from ticket sales was £363,889; and2009/10 the total costs (operating and notional) were £2,014,816 and incomereceived from ticket sales was £914,805.Cost recovery rates over the last 3 years range between 45% and 35% with projectedfigures for 2012/13 estimated to be 40%.Legislative PositionThe Strangford Lough Ferry Service is operated under the Roads (Northern Ireland) Order 1993 (Articles 98-109).
 
BRIEFING ON SUBVENTION FOR FERRY SERVICES IN NORTHERN IRELAND
Prior to 1993, the service was operated under Ihe Down County Council (Strangford LoughFerry Act) 1967, which was repealed by the Roads Order.The Department has powers to carry out work in Strangford and Portaferry harbours under the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847.The Strangford Ferry and Harbour Byelaws (1988) were created under the 1967 act andreplaced the original 1969 byelaws
Rathlin Island Ferry Service
The provision of a modern, affordable ferry service is a key strategic objective in theExecutive's Rathlin Island Policy. This in turn plays an important role in other objectivesincluding those relating to tourism, health and education.The Ballycastle to Rathlin Island ferry service has been operated by Rathlin Island FerryLimited since it won the current contract in 2008. It was previously operated by CaledonianMacBrayne (now known as CalMac Ferries Limited) from December 1996 to June 2008.Historically, a ferry service between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle was provided by theislanders themselves using converted fishing boats. In 1991, the two existing ferryoperators on Rathlin Island approached the then Department of the Environment to seeksome form of subsidy as they were experiencing financial difficulties. The Departmentrecognised that action would have to be taken to improve the ferry service in order to haltthe decline in Rathlin's population, to encourage tourism and improve economic prospects.The Department, on the basis of an investment appraisal, decided to provide financialsupport for improvements to the existing vessels and an operating subsidy, in the form of aminimum wage. The Department also assisted Moyle District Council with the purchaseand conversion of a building at Ballycastle harbour to serve as a terminal for the ferry.The Department continues to provide a subsidy to the Ballycastle to Rathlin Island ferryservice. The amount of annual subsidy currently paid is of the order of £600,000. Thisequates to just under £8 per trip. In addition the Rathlin Island Residents' Pass provides

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The determination by the Pensions Ombudsman on 1 August 2012 isn't mentioned. http://nalil.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/r...
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