Minister for Transport - Letter to Task Force members - November 2023

Dear Task Force Members

Ardrossan Harbour Re-Development Project - Programme Update

I refer to my letter to Task Force members on 15 August when I advised of the decision to pause procurement while we obtained an updated cost estimate and refreshed business case to support the project. I advised members that the outcome of the business case review was expected to be reported to the Task Force around November 2023.

I have to advise that a significant expansion of this exercise has arisen due to further work being required to support the business case.

A vital part of the business case that requires input from partners is the socio-economic assessment. North Ayrshire Council (NAC) are liaising with the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee (IoAFC) and have appointed consultants to provide a report but have advised it will not be available until late November.

Furthermore there remains on going discussion among the funding partners regarding the required project scope and, therefore, the overall costs and levels of contribution from each party. The improvement works do not at present include replacement or strengthening of the Winton Pier and Irish Berth which in certain wind conditions ferries use to manoeuvre out of the harbour. These quay walls may also provide support to the LNG tank and concerns about their integrity have been heightened following recent structural failures to parts of the wall.

In order to help determine the scope more definitively Transport Scotland have asked Peel Ports to undertake a structural assessment of these currently out of scope quay walls. This work will help clarify the condition and determine if further works are required to strengthen/ replace them.

As a result of this additional work we now expect the outcome of the business case work will be reported in February 2024.

I fully appreciate this will be disappointing. However, it is essential that the scope of works is clearly defined in order to have greater certainty of the project costs and financial package required.

I would again like to assure you that the Scottish Government remains committed to ensuring the Arran ferry service is fit for the future and that we will continue to engage closely with the community as this work progresses.

Your sincerely

Fiona Hyslop MSP