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MP vows to pursue Scotland-Europe ferry link ‘until we see results’

Campaigners want to reopen a ferry link from Fife.

A Fife MP pledged to keep pursuing a direct ferry link between Scotland and Europe “until we see results” after quizzing a UK minister over government support for the initiative.

Douglas Chapman, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, made the comments following a session at Westminster where he asked what steps are being taken to help to re-introduce a freight and passenger route.

Mr Chapman has long campaigned for the re-establishment of the Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry link, which closed in 2018.

Speaking during questions on coastal communities, the SNP MP cited the benefits coastal shipping could bring and asked Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart for an update.

What actions have been taken?

Mr Chapman said: “Many coastal communities, including in my constituency, benefit from improved coastal shipping.

“What actions has the Secretary of State taken to assist in introducing a direct ferry service from Scotland to critically important export markets in Europe?”

Iain Stewart

Mr Stewart, who last week agreed to raise the prospect of a ferry route directly with the UK Department for Transport, said he was pleased to reply to a recent debate on exploring the potential for restoring the Rosyth to Zeebrugge link.

“There are lots of potentials for reopening that,” Mr Stewart said.

“It is primarily a matter for the Scottish Government, but I am happy to work with him and his colleagues to explore all these opportunities.”

Keeping up pressure

Speaking later, Mr Chapman described the drive to re-establish a Rosyth to Europe ferry link as “an issue close to my heart” as vowed to keep up the pressure on government ministers.

“The Port of Rosyth is well placed to act as a transport hub linking Scotland to mainland Europe,” he said.

“Given the disastrous effects of Brexit on our exporters, it’s vital to keep up the pressure over this issue.

“I do think there is momentum building, and I am determined to keep pursuing this until we see results.”

Local MPs would like to see the UK Government replace the EU Motorway of the Seas funding which was lost because of Brexit.

Re-establishing a link to Europe was also a key election promise of the Scottish Greens, who have since entered a power sharing agreement with the SNP.

Scotland’s new transport minister, Jenny Gilruth, was told last week it would be “inconceivable” for her not to back a direct Rosyth to Europe ferry link given the possible economic benefits for Fife.

The Scottish Government has long maintained that any freight or passenger route to the Continent would have to operate on a commercial basis.

But critics say that position “dooms” any prospect of a service being re-established.

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