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Delays to Hard Runway at Land's End

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2:58pm 30th October 2013
(Updated 2:58pm 30th October 2013)

Plans for a hard runway at Land's End Airport have been delayed until the spring.

Heavy rain and waterlogging saw dozens of flights to the Isles of Scilly cancelled last winter.

The project that secured 7 million pounds worth of European money in July was due to start next month.

Now the Isles of Scilly Council says a contract has fallen through because of rising costs:

The Council of the Isles of Scilly and the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company have been working together closely on plans to improve airport facilities at Land's End and St Mary's.

The first stage of the project due to take place next month is the hard surfacing of the grass runways at Land's End, as they suffered badly from waterlogging last winter.

"Unfortunately, it has been impossible to conclude the contracting arrangements due to an unforeseen increase in costs, which is not covered by the financial resources available from ERDF and the IOSSCo. We have therefore had to take the difficult but logical financial decision to call a temporary halt to this element of the project whilst we re-assess the scope of the works, the works will not now go ahead in November, but we shall re-issue the tender as soon as possible to ensure the work can go ahead as early as possible."

"This delay is of course deeply frustrating. However, this is just a temporary setback" said Diana Mompoloki SIF Manager.

Jeff Marston, chief executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: "Clearly the island community and our passengers will be disappointed by today's announcement given that we had hoped the runway works would be completed in time for Christmas.

"With work now delayed to next year, Land's End Airport and our Skybus services will operate as normal throughout the winter, and our Scillonian III passenger ship will sail as planned during November.

"Since last year's exceptionally wet weather we have carried out interim works at Land's End Airport to improve the runway condition, including additional drainage, but longer term we need to harden the runways to ensure that we can reduce disruption to passengers during periods of extreme weather."

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company had intended to close Land's End Airport for three weeks in November to allow the runway works to take place, and operate instead from Newquay. Flights will now operate as normal and passengers are being notified.

2:58pm 30th October 2013

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