Islands Connectivity Plan: Strategic Approach and Vessels and Ports Plan

Closed 6 May 2024

Opened 1 Feb 2024


The Islands Connectivity Plan (ICP) will set out a long term vision of how ferry services, supported by other transport modes, will be delivered and improved in the future. It will replace the current Ferries Plan but will be wider in scope, also taking account of aviation and fixed links, as well as onward and connecting travel.

The ICP will comprise an overarching Strategic Approach, and a number of delivery plans.

The Strategic Approach paper proposes our overall Strategic Approach to island transport connectivity including ferries, aviation, fixed links and, especially, addressing the strategic challenges facing the Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services and Northern Isles Ferry Services.

The updated Vessels and Ports Plan provides detail on the Scottish Government’s objectives for the Clyde & Hebrides Ferry Services  and Northern Isles Ferry Services  which the Scottish Government is directly responsible for.

This is an updated version of the draft Plan published at the end of 2022 and reflects the feedback provided by stakeholders following the publication of the initial draft of the Plan in December 2022.  It provides a long-term plan, to 2045, for the vessel and port investment considered necessary to address the key challenges of reliability and resilience. 

Transport Scotland is consulting on both these documents.

Impact Assessments

We are committed to assessing the impact of the Islands Connectivity Plan on ferry-dependent communities and other stakeholder groups across Scotland.

This consultation will support development of the following impact assessments:

  • Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)
  • Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)
  • Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA)
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
  • Fairer Scotland Duty (FSD)   

We will publish these impact assessments on the Transport Scotland website. We would like your views on these. Views can be provided to us by emailing Transport Scotland.

For example, your views will inform us about the likely impact of our policy on advancing equality, eliminating discrimination, fostering good relations for people who share certain protected characteristics, and the potential for any impact on the environment.

We will take a robust evidence-based approach to the development of our impact assessments and will work in close consultation with key stakeholders and representatives of groups that are likely to be impacted.


Please read the consultation papers.

The Strategic Approach can be accessed here.

The Vessels and Ports Plan can be accessed here.

The consultation papers contain full background information for this consultation. You may find it useful to read or refer to both documents while responding.

Useful information about responding to this consultation

As you complete your response, each page will provide the option to 'Save and come back later' at the bottom. This means you can save your progress and return to the consultation at any time before it closes. If you don't use this feature and leave the consultation midway through, your response will be lost.

Once you have submitted your response, you can enter your email address to get a pdf copy of your answers sent to you.

On the 'About You' page at the end of this consultation, organisations will have the opportunity to tell us more about their work and/or how their response was informed.

After the consultation has closed there will be a few months delay before any responses are published. This is because we must check any responses to be published abide by our Terms of Use.

A analysis report will usually be published some months after the consultation has closed. This report will summarise the findings based on all responses submitted. It will be published on Transport Scotland's website and you may be notified about it if you choose to share your email address with us. You can also join our consulation mailing list where we regularly list newly published analysis reports (as well as new consultations).


Why your views matter

We invite you to share your views during this time to actively shape the forward thinking of the Islands Connectivity Plan.

Once the consultation period has ended, responses will be reviewed by a specialist independent analysis team and a recommendations report will be provided to Transport Scotland to consider when finalising the Islands Connectivity Plan. We value your input and look forward to hearing your views on how we can improve our ferry services and wider island transport connectivity.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this important process.


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