I was recently made aware of Associated British Ports' plans to invest money in Troon Port, if the Arran ferry service was to be redirected from Ardrossan to Troon.
I agree entirely with the concerns that have already been expressed in relation to the impact that such a move would have on the economy of North Ayrshire. Indeed, groups such as the Arran Economic Group have made it quite clear that a redirected service would be more expensive for passengers and haulage due to the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET), and that there is no evidence to support the notion that the service would be more reliable.
I have already spoken to the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, to highlight my concerns, and have detailed the many reasons why Ardrossan remains the best option for the Arran ferry service, not least because it has a train station at the harbour.
The Ardrossan Harbour Taskforce was set up earlier this year with a view to improving the operation of the harbour, and the SNP Government has already taken action - including the introduction of the RET, an increase in the number of available journeys during summer months, a new £47 million ferry, and a substantial upgrade of the existing pier at Brodick - demonstrating its clear commitment to the existing service.
Constituents should rest assured that I will maintain a dialogue with the Scottish Government regarding this important issue. The Transport Minister has already made it clear that although all proposals must be considered, Ardrossan Harbour remains the Government's primary focus.