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Council shows continued support for Ardrossan-Brodick ferry route

Posted on 13 Sep 2023

North Ayrshire Council has reiterated its unwavering commitment to retaining and improving the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry route.

At a meeting of Full Council today, elected members showed their continued support of ‘the shortest, most economical, and greenest ferry route between Arran and the mainland’.

Transport Scotland announced last month that the procurement process for the Ardrossan Harbour Redevelopment is being paused to review the financial aspects of the project.

They said that the tender design stage has identified that costs have risen significantly since the start of the project, and will need to be reassessed to take significant construction inflation and the expanded scope of the works into account.

At today’s full meeting of North Ayrshire Council, elected members noted with disappointment the decision.

Elected members instructed the Chief Executive to write to the Transport Minister and board of Transport Scotland to ask them to publicly reaffirm the choice of the Ardrossan to Arran route and proceed with the project as quickly as possible.

In addition, the Chief Executive will write to Peel Ports to ask the organisation to invest in the project to a level commensurate with its importance, and to also contact the First Minister to remind him of his previous commitment to the project and request he confirms that Ardrossan will continue to be the preferred mainland port for the Arran ferry.

Councillors also noted that officers are refreshing the case for investment based on the socio-economic benefit to have the best evidence related to the social, economic and environmental benefits of the ferry operating from Ardrossan to Arran and associated investment.

Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet Member for Green Environment and Economy at North Ayrshire Council, said: “The importance of the Ardrossan to Brodick route cannot be overstated and we have made clear our continued commitment to the route.

“There’s no doubt that we are all disappointed with the decision of the board of Transport Scotland to revisit the business case for the redevelopment of Ardrossan Harbour.

“In 2017, we successfully made the case for retaining the route and that case remains as strong and inarguable now as it was then.  

“Indeed, events since 2017 – the Covid pandemic, the Cost-of-Living Crisis, the need for action on climate, the effects of leaving the European Union and soaring inflation – have strengthened the case for a resilient, improved and sustainable crossing between Arran and Ardrossan.

“We are calling on parties involved in this project to reaffirm the commitments they have already made and to move forward with project as quickly as possible.”

In 2017, North Ayrshire Council led a successful campaign to ensure that Ardrossan Harbour remained the mainland port servicing the Arran ferry service. The campaign highlighted the wide range of benefits of Ardrossan continuing to be the mainland port serving Arran, as well as extensive analysis of socio-economic impact that would occur through the loss of the service to Ardrossan.

It is known that the efficient and effective operation of ferry services from Ardrossan to Arran contributes significantly to the Arran economy and provides vital services and skills to the island and is critical to the tourism sector regionally.