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Devon council confirms interest in plans for Swansea ferry link

21 May 2022 3 minute read
Ilfracombe. Photo Olle August from Pixabay

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.

Additional support

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.

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1 year ago

Sounds like a good idea. Not sure how “low carbon” it is, but will be a good attraction for both places. Nice to see the Tory MP of the area stereotyping us already though “Dylan Thomas literary tour or Barry booze cruise” were the two options that occurred to her. And SHE gets to vote on legislation Wasteminster imposes on us!

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
1 year ago

Tidal flow outside Ilfracombe harbour can be a major problem for smaller vessels
Mumbles motor boat and fishing club lost a boat with all hands — nothing of which was ever ? found several years ago
Where is a recovery tug going to come from if needed

1 year ago

Why? Wasn’t this touted last year by a Tory MP and championed by some Devonians as a way to resolve their “housing crisis”?

Beware wolves in sheep clothing. How about we focus on improving transport infrastructure within our own country first?

1 year ago

Brilliant idea. Many decades ago several paddle steamers operated a timetabled service across the Bristol Chanel. Smaller boats would be likely this time around. The small passenger boat services between the Chanel Islands show that a reliable service could operate all year without too much bad weather disruption.

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