Council calls "urgent" government meeting over Rosyth to Zeebrugge freight service

Published: 7 Jan 2015 09:30

FIFE Council says it wants an urgent meeting with the Scottish Government to ensure everything possible is being done to safeguard the future of the Rosyth to Zeebrugge freight ferry service.

It has reiterated its call to meet with transport minister Keith Brown MSP to discuss the issue and the challenges shipping operators are to face following the introduction of the new EU Sulphur Directive on January 1.

It comes after ferry operator DFDS announced its plans to review operation of the freight ferry service from Rosyth to Zebrugge last year.

Depute Council leader Lesley Laird, spokesperson for Economy and Planning, said its important talks start as soon as possible.

She said: “We’ve written again to transport minister Keith Brown MSP to press for a meeting this month so we can discuss how the Scottish Government intends to fight to ensure this vital service can continue.

“The Scottish Government and the council have a shared interest to ensure Scotland’s exporters and its trade partners have direct access to a freight service to mainland Europe. As well as protecting the strategic development area of Rosyth, the council also has a duty to protect the local economy and help voice the concerns we’re hearing from our business community.

“We listen to and value their views and that’s why we also want the Fife Economy Partnership and Fife Chamber of Commerce to be part of the meeting. I hope to hear from Mr Brown as soon as possible so we can make progress on this urgent issue. ”

Eric Byiers, chief executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, added: “There remain significant concerns amongst the local business community about the new EU ruling.

“As well as fears over the longer term future of the Rosyth Freight Ferry Service there are also concerns about the resultant impact any change to this service or to other shipping operators will have for businesses in Fife and beyond.

“We would be welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with Mr Brown and represent the Fife business community.”

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