Devon MP holds talks over new ferry link with Wales
Selaine Saxby, Conservative MP for North Devon, has discussed the establishment of regular ferry services between Ilfracombe and the south of Wales with Welsh Secretary Simon Hart.
Ms Saxby championed the introduction of the service during a speech in parliament last year and said in May she intended to hold talks with interested parties on both sides of the Bristol Channel.
Mr Hart was invited to Ilfracombe to meet councillors, council officials, and the harbour master to discuss plans for the proposed service last week.
“Whilst the Welsh have increasingly planned a bigger, grander crossing which will take many years to develop, we remain committed to seeing if a passenger, tourism service can be rapidly brought forward,” Ms Saxby said
“It was important to bring the Secretary of State to see what we have to offer and I will speak with Welsh colleagues at Westminster, whilst work progresses this side.”
In April, 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.
“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,” he said.
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.
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.
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