Devon council confirms interest in plans for Swansea ferry link
A council chief in Devon has confirmed interest in a plans for a new ferry service between Wales and the southwest of England.
Last month Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart revealed plans for a hydrogen-powered ferry service across the Bristol Channel and said exploratory meetings had been held with councils in Devon and Cornwall about the idea.
Mr Stewart said Swansea Council would, help provide a hub for a South Wales to Southwest of England service.
Plans for a ‘Severn link’ between Ilfracombe in Devon and Swansea were first drawn up just over a decade ago, however funding problems meant the project failed to materialise.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, has indicated her initial support for the new project.
She told ITN: “We’re yet to see details of any proposals, but we’re interested to find out more and we will arrange a meeting with North Devon Council to understand if additional support may be needed.
“The principle of re-establishing the ferry link sits well with the Devon carbon plan and the transition to a zero-carbon economy, as well as the county council’s aspirations for a coordinated approach to transport including connections outside Devon and supporting local regeneration in our coastal and market towns.”
North Devon’s Conservative MP Selaine Saxby also supports the project and championed the introduction of the service during a speech in parliament last year.
‘Barry booze cruise’
She said: “I can see South Wales from my North Devon constituency and I’m very keen to secure a ferry crossing from Ilfracombe to South Wales, popular on both sides of the Bristol Channel, with visions ranging from a Dylan Thomas literary tour through to a Barry booze cruise.”
The MP has also organised a meeting with Simon Hart),the Secretary of State for Wales, which will be held with stakeholders from both sides of the channel.
Rob Stewart, the leader of Swansea Council, said: “This would be a massive boost for tourism and business – to think you could cut your travel time to Devon and Cornwall by half, and of course it would have environmental benefits too: taking cars off the road and introducing green-powered ferries.”
Large ferries used to sail between Swansea and Cork but the service stopped just over a decade ago. Pleasure steamer Balmoral and paddle steamer Waverley have offered occasional summer sailings across the Bristol Channel for many years, stopping at Swansea and Ilfracombe in North Devon.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.