North Ayrshire Council and Peel Ports have welcomed the publication of the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) report which supports the view that the Arran Ferry service should remain at Ardrossan.
After a hard-fought campaign, the report has set out the case for the retention of the Brodick and Campbeltown ferry routes from Ardrossan.
Although no final decision has yet been taken, Transport Minister Humza Yousaf is expected to make an announcement within the near future.
The comprehensive STAG report considered a wide range of factors including Environment, Safety, Economy, Integration, Accessibility & Social Inclusion and Economic Benefits.
Under these criteria, Ardrossan emerges as the best option – underlining the case made by North Ayrshire Council in its ‘Keep it Ardrossan to Brodick (A to B) Save Our Ferry’ campaign.
Elma Murray, North Ayrshire Council Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the publication of the STAG Report – it strongly demonstrates the case we have been making for the retention of the Ardrossan-Brodick crossing. It is great news for the people of Arran as well as those on the mainland.
“The report clearly illustrates that Ardrossan remains the best and most logical option and provides the shortest, fastest, cheapest journey for the people of Arran.
“Our communities – on both sides of the crossing – have rallied around our campaign and I’m sure that their views had a real bearing on the findings of the report. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the communities of Arran and Ardrossan for their sustained commitment to the campaign.
“The Transport Minister, in his letter to us, confirms that the report supports the view that the service should remain at Ardrossan therefore we optimistically await his final decision.
“We have been given the opportunity to comment on the report and we will take that opportunity to restate our case – we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure the ferry remains Ardrossan to Brodick.
“A positive result for the Ardrossan-Brodick crossing will mean that, alongside Peel Ports, we can begin the process of regenerating Ardrossan Harbour and the surrounding area, ultimately giving Arran ferry passengers the best service possible.”
Doug Coleman, Peel Ports’ project director, said: “While we are taking nothing for granted, it’s clear that the report has recognised the overwhelmingly convincing case for retaining the Arran ferry service on the shortest, fastest and cheapest route.
“If and when this recommendation is confirmed, we will very quickly begin the marine and infrastructure project to ensure the new maritime hub at Ardrossan is ready to welcome the new £48.5m vessel which will take over the route next year.
“Together with our partners at North Ayrshire Council, we are 100 per cent committed to delivering the £15m investment which will improve the service and strengthen the local economies of Arran, Ardrossan and Kintyre for decades to come.”